A College Education: Is the Expense Worth It?

College costs have risen rapidly over the years, and students, as well as their parents, may wonder whether the return on “investment” is worth the expense.  According to the Labor Department, the price index for college tuition rose by almost 80 percent from 2003-2013. That is nearly twice as fast as growth in costs in medical care, another area widely recognized for fast-rising prices.  In order to put this in perspective, Health Care only rose by 43% and CPI (Consumer Price Index) only rose by 26% over the same time period.  


One way to decide whether attending college is worth the expense is to assess the value of a Bachelor's Degree.  According to the Economic Value of College Majors report by Georgetown University (Carnevale, Cheah, Hanson, 2015), the difference between the lifetime wages of college and high-school graduates is about $1 million, and the difference between the highest paying and lowest paying College Majors is $3.4 million.  Therefore, a college degree is worth between $1 million and $4.4 million more than a high-school diploma.  


The report goes on to discuss how some Bachelor's Degrees are worth more than others.  For example, in the early years of one's career, students with a Degree in a Health Major earn about
$41,000 annually while Liberal Arts Majors earn about $29,000 annually.  This information supports the way we structure Student Debt plans on an individualized basis.  We create a reasonable College Student Loan plan based on the student's potential career.  
A revolution has occurred in the workplace that requires Americans to have more education and greater skills. Technology has advanced to the point where, in order to keep up in the competitive job market, individuals require as much education and training as possible. 


So, is a college education worth the expense?  More information is needed to make this determination, but planning early and choosing a career path may lead to greater success.  Planning early gives you a competitive advantage over families who delay the process. 

Patrick Logue