The ROI of College

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I hate to bang this drum again but once again college is proving to have a very low return on investment. According to a new report from the New York Federal Reserve, recent college graduates are more likely to be out of work than the rest of the population.

But wait, don’t we go to college in order to get good jobs? That’s the company line that is sold to us but it does not pan out. Unemployment among Americans between 22 and 27 with recently earned degrees was up by 3.9% in December.

Worse is that that recently-earned degree is likely to be unpaid for and accruing interest charges! Record numbers of Americans are borrowing money to pay those skyrocketing tuition payments, which means that those hard-earned degrees are not paying for themselves. Quite the contrary, they are straddling our youth with expensive loans and no jobs to pay for it.

So would these youngins have been better off not having gone to college? Of course there is no standard answer for this. College affords opportunities that are priceless, such as the ability to read novels for course credit! Oh I remember those days fondly. But consider this: the earning potential of non-graduates is on the rise and the gap between graduates and non-graduates is shrinking. So in many cases, one could have skipped the Liberal Arts degree and earned their knowledge in the real world and been better off.

That’s not to say there is no value in education. Of course there is but so many college degrees are taken on without a real plan, simply because the common consensus is that college is the way to the American Dream. But maybe it is time for a new dream? Or at the very least, one where young people are not forced into a degree they’ll never use at a price they’ll never pay off.

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