How important is a college degree? That is a question that a lot of people have asked and that the Economist recently tried to answer. In a study published near the beginning of the month, the Economist looked into the financial payouts of a college degree as more and more students take out loans to pay for said degrees.
Their findings weren’t exactly pretty. The Economist found that 40 percent of college students don’t finish their degrees in four years and students with lower grades are more likely to not graduate. Additionally, about two-thirds of graduates end up working in jobs that were worked by non-degree holders half a century ago. This means that while a college degree is super important, the financial payout may not be as high as used to be.
Anybody who has taken ECON 1201 or 1202 has at some point discussed opportunity cost, especially in regards to how much students pay for college. For those who don’t know, opportunity cost is the loss when one alternative is chosen over another. By choosing to spend money on a college degree, we are losing time and money that we could put towards our future in other ways. The Economist study seems to suggest that we are losing out on some kind of financial benefit.
College, however, is not all about the financial payoff at the end. College students spend on average six years working towards getting a degree. Consider a four- to six-year timeline. A lot can change during that time, and that is what a huge part of college is: changing and developing into a new person. Additionally, college allows young adults to meet new people, debate different ideas and be exposed to many new things. College is not just going to class; it’s also going to sports games, participating in fun activities and making memories that will last a lifetime.
The Daily Campus Editorial Board would never imply that college is the perfect solution for everybody. However, when deciding whether pursuing a college degree really is for you, make sure that you weigh all the benefits, not just the financial ones.