Everywhere you look these days, there’s an article or talking head questioning the value of a college education. They often use examples of recent graduates who have a bachelor’s degree but no job. I can relate.
When I graduated from college in 1981, it was the worst recession on record at the time since the great Depression. Unemployment was terrible—very close to this latest recession. Inflation was through the roof.
The very same articles and news stories appeared then too, about college graduates who struggled to find a job. Pundits asked: Is college really worth it?
I’m happy to tell you that even though the early 1980s were tough, having a college degree made a huge difference in my life and the lives of my peers. Today, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers with college degrees have less than half the unemployment rate of high school graduates. The Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce estimated in 2010, in the height of the recession, that an associate’s degree nets a student about $473,000 over a lifetime, and a bachelor’s degree nets about $1.6 million.
There’s no doubt about it, earning a college degree is a lot of work. You not only log hours with your classmates and instructors, but you also have to study, study, study. And the rewards might not be immediate if the economy is still in recession. So you might be asking yourself —especially around mid-terms or finals!—is a college education really worth it?
My answer is a clear and emphatic yes. Don’t let a momentary blip in the economy discourage you!