Twitter and Facebook Poll: Is a College Degree Worth the Cost?

Posted on 06/23/2011

According to the College Board’s annual Trends in College Pricing report the average degree from a four-year public college for in-state students costs $20,339. For out-of-state students that price jumps to $32,329 and for four-year private colleges the cost of an education is $40,476. That begs the question—is a college degree worth the cost? Here’s what you told us on Twitter and Facebook.


@bruceplourde: I'm a huge advocate for self-education. If you are passionate about doing what you love & have a strong work ethic then skip it.

@JessKalbarczyk: Yes a college degree is very much worth it. But I don't think I can explain why only 140 characters :-)

@DebtChronicles: YES! Having a degree in my field (software engineering) is required for employment.

@ZanJones: Yes, degree is worth the cost because it increases your earning power, elevates your job qualifications - ROI is there for sure.

@becky_pittman: Depends on the industry sectors but I generally believe a college degree is worthwhile. Employers are trying to get the biggest bang for their buck. A degree is one of the candidate filters.

@KarenGirardCCDP: With so much more competition, it may be needed just to be in the running and what you learn can be priceless- worth it.

@HbaldwinLA: Absolutely! There's not price for knowledge.

@PresslyM: For the sake of a degree, no. To equip one for employment/service, quite probably. Wise to do the math ahead of enrollment.


Jordana Megonigal: I think it depends on what field — if you want to teach, then yes, you have to have it. Doctor...yes. Writer? No. Sales? No. So many companies (progressive companies, at least) prefer to train their own way and a college degree is less important than flexibility, intelligence, and respect for company culture.

Kelly Langford: Absolutely... I've read that having a bachelor’s degree in the future will be the norm… so a master’s degree will really be required to set yourself apart. Plus I think over the past several years the jobs that used to be available to people without degrees (that allowed them to be in the middle/upper middle class) are no longer as prominent. People need to research the job market and ensure they major in something that there is actually a need/job market for, otherwise it could be a waste of time and money. But certainly if you can forgo student loans and fund a degree with all scholarships that would be ideal!

Rusty Stafford: It has its pros and cons. But ultimately I don't think it’s practical from a financial standpoint. Regardless, there is a student debt bubble that is unsustainable here in the US. The amount of unsecured student loans (backed by the federal government) surpasses credit card debt. That "bubble" is soon to burst.
Gwendolyn Shafer: I'm not using either of my two bachelor's degrees (one in art, one in nursing) so I would say it's only worth it if you know for sure you'll be using it for a good long time. Otherwise, save yourself the hassle of paying of student loans.

Patricia McCorkle Crandall: It was for me. I have a bachelor’s and two masters’ which put me at the top of the pay scale for teachers. I was a single mom and watched other single moms struggle with secretarial type jobs etc., but I was able to survive raising two children alone.

Julian Loue: I agree with most of you. A degree for most specialized fields is a necessity. College for the sake of going is silly. Generic degrees are very rarely used. Overall education is always a good thing. Debt, however, is not. If an education can be paid for as you go with scholarships or other funding then it is well worth the investment. It's just silly how people spend 20 years after college in debt. Return on investment is always the goal.

Micah Walker: Not always. Too much of higher education operates like a pyramid scheme in my view. Professors get you to buy in to the fact that something they find interesting is important and then when you have a degree in that the only thing you can do with it is teach it, meaning you will need to convince a new generation of undergraduates and/or administrators that it is important and should remain on the curriculum, perpetuating the cycle. Much of what they teach in humanities comes to mind.

Rhiannon Wells: It depends on the degree. If you just get a general "liberal arts" degree with no focus on anything, what can you do with it? However, if you get a degree in something where you'll get a job that you love, it's definitely worth it!

Rebecca Vereen: Yes, for the sheer fact that you get more respect when you have a college degree at the work place, even if it is in some obscure subject that you will never use.

Raul Humberto Wells: An education is great, but it doesn't guarantee a job. How long does it take most people to pay off their student loan debt? I'm going to say about ten years on average. Is it supposed to take that long?

By Alison Storm

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