According to a new poll, 56% of Americans don’t think a 4-year college degree is worth the cost
According to a new poll, 56% of Americans don’t think a 4-year college degree is worth the cost versus 42% who do.
The result echoes concerns raised by Ad Astra in our post, American Aristocracy. The cost of college has increased by 1200% versus just 280% for consumer inflation since 1980.
The increasing cost of college has led to ballooning student debt, which has climbed to nearly $2 trillion.
The human impact is described in the story:
One of the women who has lost faith in the power of college despite herself obtaining an undergraduate degree, is Danielle Tobias, a 50-year-old dialysis technician in Lorain, Ohio.
Ms. Tobias said neither of her parents graduated from college. Her father worked in a steel mill in Cleveland. Her mother worked in a bakery. Both strongly encouraged her to enroll in college. She graduated in 2003 from Lake Erie College, a private liberal arts school, with a degree in equine studies and $85,000 in student loan debt.
She worked at a horse stable giving riding lessons for several years before realizing she wasn’t earning enough money to live on or make her student debt payments. She now works as a dialysis technician and earns $36,000 a year at a medical facility, which provided training at no cost to her.
Ms. Tobias pays $125 a month on her student loans—the minimum due. Her balance has ballooned to $145,000. She has made peace with the reality that she will likely die without having paid off her debt, she said.
Ms. Tobias’s 20-year-old stepson graduated from high school and now works in a grocery store. She has advised him to be cautious about where and how to continue his education.[i]
Unaddressed, these trends will lead to a society where only the wealthy can attend college and an uneducated workforce.
We should dramatically reduce the cost of college by expanding online courses for foundational subjects and decrease student debt with innovative programs like The Student Debt Project at McPherson College in McPherson, Kansas. We should also expand access to alternative pathways to higher education (community college, vocational training) and apprenticeships.
5-point plan to restore the American Dream
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