Current studies show that even with the rising cost of College, attending College is expensive but worthwhile, based on long-term earnings. For example, this Economist article considers the Return on Investment via Payscale.
In addition to the financial benefit to attending College, there are also the intangible benefits that make College worthwhile. This 2016 article by the President of Arizona State University discusses some of the intangibles.
In this article, Michael Crow discusses the impact a College education has on many aspects of an individual’s life, stating, “The structure and outcome of American society now is being driven by college attainment. Educational attainment, now and in the future, drives class structure, medical outcomes, social welfare outcomes, children’s success and democratic participation. An individual’s education level is also a reliable predictor of life span.”
Crow also describes the impact the individual’s education makes on the world: “College education – additional learning – created a more adaptive population that produced a substantially different world in 20th century America.”
Your College Choices Make a Significant Impact On Whether College is Worthwhile
In my house, we agree that College is important. The next question is the chosen field of study. My advice to my children is that if they choose a degree that is generally not well-paid, I support them 100%, if that degree is their passion. But I remind them that choosing that degree comes with consequences. These consequences include having less discretionary money to live their life, which means less or at least less expensive travel, home, car, etc. This is a very simple idea that all parents should pass on to their children. Your future financial life is significantly impacted by your choice to:
a) attend or not attend College
b) apply yourself while at College
c) attend an inexpensive vs. expensive College
d) incur a little or a lot of College debt
e) obtain a generally lucrative or non-lucrative degree
There are many people who are financially successful with a degree that is not known to be lucrative, but it is generally harder to have financial security with a History degree vs. an Engineering degree. While money is not everything, the security that comes with having regular employment and adequate money can not be discounted.
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