Since the beginning of this year there has been a lot of talk and reports in the media debating whether going to college is still worth the investment in time and money. The news media has emphasized the amount of recent college graduates who are either unemployed or working at jobs that didn’t require a college degree.
Then there are the various reports showing the amount of student loans outstanding is now nearing $1 trillion.
So, not only are some graduates not finding good jobs, they are leaving college with a large amount of debt.
It is no wonder that many students and parents may be wondering about whether they should attend college or not? Let’s take a look at some real facts that may help answer this very important question.
The real numbers
In order to address these questions we need to look at the true numbers and then draw a reasonable conclusion from that rather than rely on sensational statistics that are designed to ramp up ratings.
A college degree does matter
Looking at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for Americans with a high school diploma was 8.7%. The rate of unemployment for those who attended but did not graduate was a bit lower at 7.1%. Now, the rate for those with a bachelor’s degree or higher the rate was down to 4.1%.
How about pay?
A worker with only a high school diploma earned $638 a week in 2011 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, a worker with a college degree earned 39% more per week during the same time.
Jonathan James an economist with the Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank stated his department has hard evidence that employers are willing to pay a higher wages for college graduates. He has been able to demonstrate that beginnings back in 1977 employers were willing to pay 30% more for college graduates. Yet, by 2010 those same employers were paying 60% more for college graduates than workers without a college degree.
So, based on these raw numbers employers are not only preferring college graduates, they are willing to pay more for them.
But what about the costs of attaining the degree?
The actual truth is that extreme borrowing is far less common than what we all hear about on the news. Here are some hard facts from Department of Education:
- 90% of the students who graduated with a six figure debt were graduate and professional students (medical students accounted for 49% while law students were 36%).
- Undergraduates who attend a private university are 12 times more likely to graduate with a six figure debt.
- When you add it all up it is only 1.5% of ALL undergraduates and graduate students who actually end up with a six figure debt.
A college education is still a good investment if it is plan properly like any investment. This means that not all colleges and universities are a good fit or provide the value you may be seeking. Now, more than ever parents and students must know what the advantages and disadvantages of each school they are considering. You need to look both at the cost and the product your student will be receiving. This is where College Planning ABC comes in.
First, I make sure that the student finds not only the best college, but also finds the lowest cost possible to attend. Secondly, we find programs that include internships or coops that will help in maximizing the employment potential for that student when they graduate.
It is not uncommon on a first consultation to see a family who was on road to a high debt education. Then, after meeting with me we have significantly lowered the expense so that debt is no longer necessary. Similarly, I have had students and parents come in with a firm college choice not knowing that there was another more prestigious college, with better job placement opportunities, and lower costs.
The bottom line is you need to be informed and I am hosting new Workshops this month to give you the tools and knowledge for you to make the best decisions. Let me bring you the real facts and strategies that will keep your student from being a statistic. Now is your time.