Is College Worth The Money Today?

It is not unlikely that you see people with Bachelor’s and even Master’s degrees waiting tables these days. Depending on what they studied and the hiring standards in their field, they may be under- or over-qualified for most jobs. Students that have spent thousands of dollars on education are getting stuck paying off their loans without a steady income to afford them.

Although the number of college-educated people, especially women, experienced a huge increase in the last few decades, this may now be changing due to the very unstable economy. Some people just don’t see the reasoning behind spending so much money without the security of finding a job after graduation. Although it was never a guarantee to find work right after college, it now seems almost hopeless.

Another feasible argument here is that too many people are going to college these days. According to George Leef, Research Director of the Pope Center, “Large numbers of people have gone to college and obtained degrees costing a great deal of money and time, only to find that there aren’t nearly enough of those good jobs to go around….” As Leef continues, higher education does not necessarily translate into tangible job skills in the professional world. Often, graduates will find themselves with a degree in name only, but they’ll lack the qualifications and knowledge they need to succeed in the working world.

Leef also points out that no one should assume just because people who obtained college degrees in the past have experienced higher earnings on average, those who get college degrees in the future will also enjoy the same earnings. In fact, in many cases the pay for college graduates is no different than the pay for non-graduates, or even high school dropouts. Clearly now more than ever, academics won’t always yield a higher-earning wage.

The argument that “college isn’t for everyone” really does bring up a good point. You should go to college if you have a specific, professional goal in mind which you know requires a college-level education. It really all boils down to what it is you want to do in the workforce. Some great jobs out there only require a high school education, others at least 2 years at a tech school or community college. Not every single job out there requests a 4-year degree from an Ivy-league college.

In 2007, the United States was ranked 12th out of 36 countries when it came to the amount of Americans ages 25-34 who had an associate’s degree or higher (40.4%). The U.S. fared better in the rankings when it came to the amount of people between 55 and 64 years old who had degrees. With 38.5% of this age group holding degrees, the U.S. came in 4th place.

What needs to happen is the number of job opportunities must grow. There just aren’t enough of them right now to offer to all of the college graduates. Graduates expect a position almost immediately after completing their degree, but that’s not always the case. Having “real world” skills can sometimes leave a person better off for employment.

Although college grads may have learned the skills in theory, people already experienced in the workforce have more hands-on experience.