College Education has been a big topic in the news lately. The focus of most of the conversation has been around a couple things – 1) is going to college still relevant in an age where people like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg are becoming billionaires without graduating college, and 2) Is a college education worth the price?
The fact of the matter is college education is a trillion dollar business for both private and public institutions. According to a recent article in Forbes, there is $1.2 trillion in outstanding loans. What that means is there is $1.2 Trillion currently not going back into the economy, but will be spent servicing the loans that people took out simply to say they at least attended a post-high school education.
The result of all of this debt and the lingering impact of the 2008 – 2009 Financial Crisis is it is leaving thousands of people unable to do the things that college graduates would normally do – buy a house, buy a car or start a family. There are numerous stories in the media that have told of the same sad situation for thousands of Americans – they went to college, got a degree, but they’re unable to find a job.
What exacerbates the problem is these folks leave school with a huge amount of debt. According to a recent article on CNN.com, the most recent college graduates graduate owing an average of $35,200. Further stressing out these people is the fact that in general, college loans cannot be relieved by bankruptcy which means that these young people are saddled with a ridiculous amount of debt that they have no other choice but to pay off.
Fortunately, there are some options out there for these people. A quick google search for “student loan debt relief returned 1.7 million results. Drilling down even further, there are quite a few companies out there that offer free consultative services to help students completely understand the seriousness of their situation and what options they have in tackling this big problem.
This of course doesn’t answer the larger question, which is, is getting a college education worth the price of you pay for it. There are a lot of people with lots of different opinions on the matter. But let’s look at some numbers from the recent Unemployment Report from the U.S. Department of Labor – the unemployment rate for people with Bachelor’s degrees is 3.8%. The unemployment rate for people with some college is 6.3%. The Unemployment Rate for people with no college is 7.3%. The Unemployment Rate for people with less than a high school degree is 10.9%.
The facts are clear – the more education you have, the more likely you are to be employed. Having said that, the price of going to college is continually rising. It is imperative that as a society we find a better way of helping people pay for post-high school education.