Student enrollment in college dropped by 800,000 between the years 2010 and 2014.
A major contributor is fear of student debt. By the end of 2016, student debt in the United States reached a record $1.3 trillion. According to the College Board, a four-year bachelor’s degree from a private college cost $120,640, and $37,600 from a public university with in-state tuition.
This is an enormous amount of debt for students to take on. The big question is: is college really worth the investment.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2015 data, workers with high school diplomas face an unemployment rate of 5.4%. Workers with bachelor’s degrees have an unemployment rate of 2.8%, and those with doctorates have a 1.7% unemployment rate. Holding a college degree certainly goes a long way to ensuring employment, but what do the wages look like?
The reality is, wages vary drastically between majors. Students who earn bachelor’s degrees, or higher degrees, in STEM specializations tend to have the highest wages while other majors yield significantly lower salaries. The other issue with whether students decide to continue in academia. Certain majors will not ensure high salaries after college, but if students continue to pursue careers in higher education, they will. If an academic track is what you are looking for, college is well worth the investment, and if your career goals are in STEM industries, it is certainly worth it to earn a degree.
However, if you are one of the growing number of students who have SOME college but no complete degree, and a lot of work experience in the meantime, you may not actually have to go back to college to finish your degree. Visit thecareerpeople.com to learn more.