Education is second only to hard work as the factor to which Affluent households are most likely to attribute their financial success.
Education is second only to hard work as the factor to which Affluent households are most likely to attribute their financial success, Spectrem Group research finds. More than eight-in-10 (84 percent) surveyed indicate they believe a college education is necessary to succeed in today’s workplace.
Study after study finds that, yes, a good job with the potential for career and salary advancement are more likely to be achieved by those with a college degree (with some degrees being more lucrative than others). But while a college education is considered by many Americans to be one of the bedrocks of the American dream, rising tuition costs and mounting student debt (currently at a reported $1 trillion) have triggered a discussion over whether a college degree is worth the cost?
The recently released second national Gallup-Purdue Index finds that half of all graduates “strongly agree” that their education was worth the cost. Of recent grads, who received their diplomas between 2006-2015, that percentage drops to 38 percent.
Among those who strongly agree that their education was worth the cost, there was not a significant difference in response between graduates of a public university (52 percent) and private nonprofit university (47 percent).
There is not a significant difference between respondents who graduated from a public university (52 percent) vs. those who graduated from a private nonprofit university.
Is college worth it? Responses were also impacted by experiential factors, the GPI found. The odds of strongly agreeing that a college education was worth the cost was nearly 2-times higher if the respondents felt their professors cared about them as a person and if they had a mentor who encouraged them to pursue their goals.
The odds were found to be 1.8-times higher if the respondent could name at least one professor who excited them about learning and 1.6-times higher if the respondent worked on a project that took a semester or more to complete.
Respondents who reported having an internship or job that allowed them to apply on the job what they learned in the classroom were 1.5-times more likely to strongly agree that a college education was worth the cost, and 1.3-times higher if they were a member of a national fraternity or sorority.
Almost two-thirds of recent college graduates report having had to take out student loans, with a median debt burden of $30,000. Nearly half who incurred any amount of student loan debt have either postponed further training or post-graduate education, or delayed making a major purchase such as a car or house. Nearly one-in-five have put off staring their own business.
This serves as a reminder that “student loan debt can be a significant obstacle to a student’s future success and, in some cases, a long-term handicap,” observed Purdue President Mitch Daniels in a statement.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.