American Morning

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May 16th, 2011
06:17 AM ET

Is college worth it?

American Morning's Question of the Day: Is college worth it?

According to a study by The Pew Research Center, a majority of college graduates say getting their college diploma was a good investment and report they earn about $20,000 more a year because of their college degree.

However, the study also found that 75 percent of Americans think college is no longer affordable.

We are asking you to weigh in this morning and tell us what you think. Do you think college is worth it?

Filed under: AM Asks
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. Kathy

    Isn't it great how all the wealthy elite college graduates in politics and media are suggesting that perhaps our kids should just be glad to dig ditches and shouldn't set their sites on college?

    May 17, 2011 at 8:20 am |
  2. Deb Stamm

    Any education can advance a persons career. I have a 4 year degree but no longer work in the field of that degree. I do not regret getting the college degree but if I had to do it over I would have went to a Technical School – similar cost but would have been done in less time and had better job placement opportunities with as good or better pay then many college degree only positions.

    May 16, 2011 at 8:36 am |
  3. Gerrick Hilliard, Jr.

    A college education can almost always put you in a better position when it comes to better employment opportunities but while saying that, it is still a very competitive environment in the job market today. The less adaptable you are to change, the harder it is to find a career. The more credible you are, the more likely you will find a career and a well paid one at that.

    May 16, 2011 at 8:33 am |
  4. ww

    After doing a research paper on this subject for my MBA, I can summarize it this way. Higher education is a LONG TERM investment. Since you usually have 4+ years of NEGATIVE income while you could have had positive income, it takes MANY years before you break even. But,,,over a LIFETIME, (on average) education is definitely worthwhile.

    May 16, 2011 at 8:33 am |
  5. R.P

    It is beyond me that we actually have brought ourselves to the point where we need to ask this question; And we live in America! Some "third world countries" provide FREE higher education to its citizens. Are we moving backwards? What next?

    May 16, 2011 at 8:32 am |
  6. Hugo Strongheart

    Is college worth it? Well, it depends on what type of college you are dealing with. There are many colleges out there that focus more on social experiences rather than on academics. Many of these colleges tend to be private liberal arts colleges in which the tuition is so high that faculty are pressured to lower their academic standards to keep their students happy. It seems that the higher the tuition, the lower the academic standards, which means no real qualifications.

    May 16, 2011 at 8:30 am |
  7. Bill Meyer

    Higher education to me was never about just finding employment. It was a way to broaden and improve my interests and values as well as develop skills that allowed me to continue a lifelong education. The areas other than my major field of study gave me an appreciation and depth of interest that I will always have with me. I believe that an education is not an entitlement to gain employment but an experience to enhance and enrich my life and hopefully others. How can that not be worth it?

    May 16, 2011 at 8:10 am |
  8. Mike Duffy

    College is worth everything you put into it. You can find less costly college. You can find specific degrees for careers, and you can find jobs if you are willing to move to reach your goals.
    You can also find social life, parties, travel and the like at "the university", but later you may not find the job you "like."There aren't many jobs for those not wanting hard work or lacking skills.
    There's no shortage of money for those willing to work for it.

    May 16, 2011 at 8:00 am |
  9. Laurie Reiser

    College is worth it but with a twist. Not necessarily your GPA or your major are most important. Most important are your contacts, in your area of interest, AND your willingness to let your parents and friend's parents tap their contacts for you. It won't get you the job, that is where GPA and major and most importantly personality come in, but it will give you a much higher level starting point in the interview process!

    May 16, 2011 at 7:56 am |
  10. Carlos

    I have my serious doubts...I have a four year degree in communications from a respectable college in Boston.
    All that schooling on speech writing and the best chance I have to apply it its when I call: PAPER OR PLASTIC?
    I owe in excess of $25K in students loans that I dont foresee being able to pay any time soon.

    May 16, 2011 at 7:55 am |
  11. Marcus Hawkins

    Education is important, but I think in this country we focus too much on a college degree and not enough on the other options. There are so many ways a person can be trained for a certain job or career field without going broke.

    May 16, 2011 at 7:55 am |
  12. Tony

    I have 2 degrees and had been looking for a job for two years with no luck. I went back to school for a third degree thinking this would help ,along with working two unpaid internships-still nothing. Where did it get me? I'm still looking-now with 3 degrees! Any ideas?

    May 16, 2011 at 7:54 am |
  13. Kelly Morgan

    No college is not worth it. I have two degrees and unemployed. Would have been better off working at Mcdonalds all my life and moving up the ladder than all the years wasted in school or looking for a job. Its all about who you know these days.

    May 16, 2011 at 6:55 am |
  14. greg

    I have well over 100k in loans and earn less than 40k/yr. How am I supposed to pay 1300/mo? Or even 600/mo if I push back my federal loans to try pay private loans? The private loans are stupid. I wish I knew the difference thoroughly before accepting them.

    That said, it's crazy! I do know that in a senior level position I will be much better off ~3 years from now. I've had no problems with jobs and contracts since graduating 2 years ago but I do a lot of networking and have had clients of my own for 3 years. I also studied my career as a tech prep program in high school and was self taught since I was 10, spending saved lunch money on software and a Wacom tablet. I don't know many people that can say they chose their career at 10 and stuck with it for 14 years. I say this from my home office as I telecommute for a company 55 miles away. I get to take working vacations and chose my office for the day or even the week.

    May 16, 2011 at 6:53 am |
  15. Todd

    A College education is always worth it in the means of opening one's mind to the world around them. Although, as a recent College Graduate I personally found that finding a job, even with many honors and and a GPA of 3.83 is almost virtually I am going back for my Masters degree!

    May 16, 2011 at 6:50 am |
  16. Frank

    No college is not worth it. It is seriously over-priced and it's big business. Why start off life with huge debt? The general public has been duped into thinking it's absolutely mandatory and necessary yet there are countless examples of people who have had a great deal of success without it. I do not have a college degree and own three businesses. I started my first business at age 23 and still have it 30 years later. I opened two others which are also successful. For $80k or less you can buy a successful, established and profitable business.

    May 16, 2011 at 6:49 am |
  17. JLS

    Nope, trade schools are the better bet! I have student loans, an MBA, and only part time work. Kids are making more than me and I have a family of 4.

    May 16, 2011 at 6:49 am |
  18. Karoly Zsiga

    No, its not. I have several co-workers who have no college degrees and they are advancing. Like real estate is about LOCATION, job advancement is about CONNECTIONS.

    May 16, 2011 at 6:48 am |
  19. Wayne

    College use to be a great investment towards one's future earnings. Now, the initial investment one must make up front is so high that it is taking longer to recover that cost through your career earnings. A college degree will only be affordable for those offspring of the 1% (ultra-wealthy) population, not the middle-class.

    One good thing for low wage employers, you will have a larger pool source of poetential employees!

    May 16, 2011 at 6:48 am |
  20. Joe Wozniak

    Only if you'r not talented enought to be a plumber or electrician.

    May 16, 2011 at 6:48 am |
  21. Matt

    College is only worth it if you choose a discipline that is in demand. You have to look at college as an investment, an unwise choice may not be profitable.

    May 16, 2011 at 6:31 am |
  22. Dave

    Ask Bill Gates, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James if college is worth it.

    May 16, 2011 at 6:29 am |
  23. Vinny - NJ

    We are actually shopping for loans today. It's sad that my son may graduate with a mortgage payment!!! Depending on the field they work, the degree is needed. I just wonder why some states are more affordable than others???

    May 16, 2011 at 6:24 am |