Thursday, November 9, 2017

Is College Worth it?

Stevie Ward
Mr. Reuter
Economics A4
30 October, 2017
Is College Worth It?
Attending college is an enormous investment that can leave participants in debt long after they have left college. A question that is becoming increasingly argued is whether college is worth the thousands of dollars or not. In government, traditional thinking prevails. Former President Barack Obama stated that higher education “is an economic imperative” (Bittar). Education is the single highest expenditure of both the federal and local governments, spending about 30% of their allotted budgets. Of this spending, about 40% is spent on higher education - around $386 billion per year. Why is the government choosing to allocate a significant portion of its budget to higher education? Because postsecondary education is an invaluable investment in human capital that benefits the individual and the whole.
Opponents of attending college cite the ever-rising costs. Over the past 40 years, the average price of college has more than doubled. The average public 4-year college costs around $20,000 a year (including tuition, room, and board), while the price of private colleges has risen even higher at the average of $40,000 a year. However, there are many options to help prospective students with their debt. Financial aid from the federal government can substantially decrease the amount of money one needs to pay based on a family’s financial need. In 2014, the government provided $24 billion in grants (don’t have to be paid back) to college students who needed it. The government also disbursed around $100 billion in low-interest loans with flexible payback options. On top of government aid, there is also private aid available from individual colleges and scholarship granting organizations.
It is incontestable that college is expensive, and costs rising every year, providing the one of most valid argument against attending college. However, attending college and attaining a degree allows one more opportunity to find a higher-level job that supplies a larger income than if they only had a high school diploma. Opponents of going to college, believe that the opportunity cost of attending is giving up the opportunity to get a job and immediately start earning money. However, the Pew Research Center found that the income gap between those with higher levels of education (Bachelors, Masters, etc.) and those with high school education is larger with millennials in 2013 than previous generations, averaging a difference of $17,500 annually. For baby boomers, the average difference is $14,245 while for gen xers the difference is $15,780 (Kurztleben). The average 4-year bachelor’s degree holder earns nearly $1 million more over the course of their lifetime than someone with only a high school diploma. Today, there is a large demand for workers with degrees in higher education, as less than 30% of Americans have a degree. Since there is a scarcity of workers in the job market with a degree, it has become increasingly valuable and a desired aspect to applications.
In general, the benefits of attending college outweigh the costs in the end. Employers desire degree-holders more, more high-level and high-paying jobs are available, and average income improves overall.


Bibliography

Bittar, Catherine. “The Economics of Higher Education: Why College Is a Worthwhile Investment.” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 19 Oct. 2012, www.huffingtonpost.com/catherine-bittar/college-investment_b_1989876.html.


Kurtzleben, Danielle. “Study: Income Gap Between Young College and High School Grads Widens.” U.S. News & World Report, U.S. News & World Report, 11 Feb. 2014, www.usnews.com/news/articles/2014/02/11/study-income-gap-between-young-college-and-high-school-grads-widens.

16 comments:

  1. College may be expansive, but in the end the knowledge will help you pay for college. Also having educated people in the nation will help the literacy rate in the US. Having rich people that are educated will also increase the economic growth because they will spend more, which helps the economy.

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  2. I agree that although college is expensive and consumes a lot of time and energy, that it is worth paying to go to college. I believe this is because of the reasons you stated such as employers wanting well educated employees and the higher income. However personally I also want to go to college for the experience and the independence, that's why I want to go to college. Some people don't agree with that and say the opportunity cost, which is to earn money right away is to significant to ignore, so it really depends on the person's opinion on if paying/going to college is worth it.

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  3. College, in my opinion, is the best doorway to a successful life. It gives the student a sense of life as an adult and readily prepares them for who they want to be and what they want to do. Because of this, I personally believe that college should be less expensive, if anything at all. Some countries in Europe charge nothing for tuition for Americans, such as Germany and Norway. However, because college is very productive and pretty much essential for a "happy" life, I would say it's worth paying for.

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  4. I think it is ridiculous that to get a steady job in a professional field you need to put yourself in absurd amounts of debt. In my lifetime I would hope to see meaningful reform to how much colleges can charge. Higher education should not be a luxury, it should be widely available to everyone. Too many people rely on sometimes very flimsy athletic scholarships and academic scholarships that aren't enough to get them through 4 years. Education is a crucial step in moving forward in our country, and it should be treated as such.

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    1. I agree with you comment regarding how unfortunate is is that the debt is from colleges is so great. However, I also believe a college education is of vital importance and is worth the cost. While I feel like the costs of college may hinder students fresh out of college, if they use the information they learn they should be able to succeed financially in the end so I believe college is worth the cost.

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    2. I agree with you Brooke, as I think that college is worth the cost. As with many career paths you need to get at least a four-year degree, many people have to go to college to get the career they want. I do think that there should be reforms to lower the tuition of college, as many European universities have very cheap tuition and still have great education.

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  5. This is a really interesting and relevant topic especially for high school students. I agree with the statement you mentioned about the value of education. Education is important because it does indeed increase human capital especially when more people in society become more knowledgeable in a specialized area. Also, I found it surprising about how much the cost of education takes up from the incoming taxes and the amount of money in grants paid out by the government to college students.

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  6. I think it depends what you want to go to college for. For some types of jobs, you obviously need a diploma to get a job. But for some other jobs that people think you need a degree for, you don't necessarily have to have one. People also over look trade school because it's not exactly a four year college, so they think it won't make them successful. I don't like the idea that society says that college is the only way to truly succeed in life. I think college should only be for fields that absolutely require a degree to get a job in. Other than that, college is too expensive and isn't necessarily for everyone. (Vinny)

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  7. This is an interesting topic because I know people that have gone to college and are very successful, and people that didn't attend college that are also very successful. I know a person who simply started off lifting rocks in a lawn service company. Soon, he progressed his way up to a higher position, and left the company to start his own. This person now owns an extremely successful company, even though he never attended college. On the other hand, going to college and doing well gives you a better chance to secure a nice job in the future.

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  8. When you are looking at going to college, of course there is the pure economic cost but what a lot of people forget about is the oppurtoonity cost of college. What a lot of people don't realize is that a lot of the time when they graduate from college there is no job oppurtoonities in that field available. And they wasted valuable money and time, where they could have gotten a job that paid very similar in pay. Of course college is the smarter option in the long run but only if you are sure there are job oppurtoonities available for your major.

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    1. I love that you brought up that side of things Liam. You really tackled the economic side of this topic. Personally I feel as though in today's society or 4 year college is looked at as the thing to do. Although this may not always be the case as if you are interested in a trade job such as becoming a plumber. You can make a lot of money with not a lot of student loan you have to pay.

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    2. I agree with your thoughts liam. I have never thought about that side of the money. Although college is expensive, if you do things right and pursue your career of choice. You can earn that money back and gain even more. The opportunity cost is obviously something to think about. If you are sure there will be job opportunities after college, then college sounds right for you.

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  9. College is a really tricky thing because college cost so much money and now a days you cant really have a good paying job without some sort of higher schooling than high school.College seems like it be a waste of time and money if you graduate and their really isn't that many opportunity for you to do what you want in.This will lead many people having to settle for a job and pay off a lot of debt.In my opinion college is only worth going to if you know you have a good opportunity when you leave college and start the job you majored in.

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  10. I feel that your statement that there is a higher demand for workers with higher education should include what specific majors are in higher demand. I say this because the student seeking a English major or an art major is going to have a much harder time finding a job than someone who acquired a two-year associate degree from a tech school. I also feel that finding out how much students save by waiting a year to go to college and not only comparing a public four year college to a private, but also tech schools would have been interesting additions to your writing.

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  11. Attending college is certainly worth the time and money assuming you achieve the goals of your education and receive a well paying job in the field you're educated in. That being said, that often doesn't happen. On top of that, despite government grants for education, students will often require another form of financial aid in the form of student loans, which have exorbitantly high interest rates. To top it all off, minimum wage, which is about what most people going into college are or were earning before college, is not rising at nearly the same rate as college cost. This means students have an increased dependence in loans, leaving many graduates in debt for the rest of their lives.

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