Is a college degree worth accumulating student loan debt?

With technology advancing quickly, is it still worth it to get a degree? There are ways you can make millions of dollars and residual income without having to go to college. You can trade, buy stocks, become an entrepreneur, invest in real estate, and increase your streams of income. So the big question is: why go into debt to be a middle class citizen when there are different ways to become a millionaire without a college degree?

From an economic perspective, getting a college degree is still worth it. Students who graduate with a Bachelor’s degree earn more than those without a degree, on average. Many adults without a degree don’t work to become millionaires. There is a 1 in 32 (3%) chance of an American becoming a millionaire. The chances of a Black individual becoming a millionaire in America is 6.4% and chances of a Hispanic becoming a millionaire is 6.8%- the least likely races to make seven figures. 

In 2019, Billionaire CEO Robert F. Smith announced a plan for Morehouse College graduates. The plan consisted of a grant to help recent graduates payoff student loans. Although it helped nearly 400 seniors who graduated that weekend from the HBCU in Atlanta, other students around the country face a much more difficult repayment route.

According to a new report by Merrill Lynch and Age Wave, which surveyed over 2,700 early adults (ages 18 to 34), more than half of young adults have student loan debt. 36% of graduates repaying student loans say that taking on that debt wasn’t worth it. A smaller poll by GoBankingRates revealed that while the majority of Americans with college degrees don’t regret college itself, many do say the student debt they were subjected to wasn’t worth it.

In my personal opinion, I do not regret coming to college and living through each experience life has brought me here. However, the cost of college is not worth it at all. From the quality of education to the food options on campus, Florida Atlantic University does not meet the expectations and standards that were set. I expect the quality of education to be much better than what it is now or before COVID. As a senior enrolled in FAU, I want to graduate feeling and knowing that the $40,000 that I have to pay out of pocket was all worth it. That’s every college student’s hope and expectation. 

I created my own list of reasons why college would and would not be worth it for you. I also included some alternative options for college degrees.

Paying for college is worth it when:

  1. You make more money for having a degree
  2. Your career requires a college degree
  3. You learn inside and outside the classroom
  4. You have access to more opportunities and connections

Paying for college is not worth it when:

  1. Your career does not require a college degree
  2. Your degree does not guarantee a high paying job
  3. You regret the experience 
  4. You do not graduate 

Alternatives

  1. Technical/Trade school
  2. Real Estate Agent
  3. Medical Assistant 
  4. Web Developer 
  5. Military 
  6. Start a Business

The expense of a degree can cause financial turbulence for graduates attempting to build their life after college. Student debt can also delay life events such as buying your first home or starting a family. Still, experts say that gaining a higher education is often a smart decision in the long run, even if you need to take out student loans to pay for it and research supports it.

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