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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Is college worth it if you have to borrow? Only 22% say 'yes'

Americans' faith in the economic value of college keeps falling, reports Pew Research Center.

One quarter of adults said earning a bachelor's degree is "very important" to getting a good job, 35 percent said somewhat important and 40 percent said not too or not at all important.

Only 22 percent think getting a four-year degree is worth it, even if the student has to borrow. Forty-seven percent says it's worth it without loans, 29 percent don't think it's worth it even without debt.

"Even among four-year college graduates, only about a third (32%) say college is worth the cost even if someone has to take out loans," Pew noted.

Biden keeps canceling student loans, bragging about getting around a U.S. Supreme Court decision to do it. I think he's persuaded Americans that going to college is dangerous.

Young men without college degrees were doing poorly in the workforce until about 10 years ago, when their prospects started to improve, Pew reports.

In the past 10 years, earnings for women both with and without a college degree have risen.

Seventy-two percent of employers don't see a college degree as a reliable signal of skills or competence, but 52 percent "hire from degree programs because they believe it is a less risky choice," concludes the 2022 Degrees of Risk survey.

"When making decisions about their post-high school future, today’s young people still largely tend to default to a college or failure mindset," the report found. Two-thirds fear the risk of choosing the wrong non-degree path.

It's hard for young people and employers to assess the value of the growing number of short-term workforce credentials, says Jobs for the Future.

Employers want workers with "middle skill" credentials, such as vocational certificates and two-year degrees, says a new Georgetown report. But not all credentials have workforce value, concludes The Great Misalignment. In particular, associate degrees in liberal arts, general studies and humanities don't pay off, unless the graduate goes on to complete a four-year degree. Most do not.

High school students -- and non-enrollees 18 to 30 years old --- don't see college as the best way to achieve economic security, notes Michael Horn. Both groups think getting a good job as the point of college, according to a 2023 survey. They see greater value in "shorter, cheaper" paths such as on-the-job training and skills training leading to a certificate.

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May 30

Four years of college at $30,000 a year obviously burns up 4 years of your life and $120,000. Four years as a plumbing, electrical, or HVAC apprentice and journeyman gets you 4 years of experience and income of $150,000 or more. And, a tradesman meets a better class of people. Which sounds like a better deal?

May 30
Replying to

Probably written by someone who would never want their own children to be electricians or plumbers or have any relatives doing those jobs. One should also look up median pay for plumbers versus other fields. One could also look up how such building trades are organized.

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