Survey: College Isn’t All That Great an Investment

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Last year, 80% of Americans believed that college was a good financial investment. Now, results from the same survey show a sharp drop in confidence in the rewards of higher education, with only 64% of people saying that college is a good investment.

The survey, conducted by Country Financial, also found that 40% of Americans ages 18 to 29 say that college loans had a “significant impact on other life decisions” such as getting married (or not), buying a home (or not), and choosing a job track out of love for the career versus the path with the highest likelihood of earning big bucks. It is safe to assume that the “significant impact” of these loans was mostly negative. And it is significant that younger people feel more of an impact from loans than the other age groups: Overall, only 20% of those surveyed said that college loans had a large impact on life decisions.

It seems impossible to really answer the question of the soundness of college as an investment with a simple yes/no. It’s such a case by case issue, with the answers depending on which college, which individual, and which line of work we’re talking about, as well as the financial status of the family in question. This question has come up again and again and again. Oh, and again.

As college costs continue to rise (even at state schools) and career opportunities for recent grads continue to shrink, however, the knee-jerk argument for going to college at any expense is harder and harder to make.