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The Real Dilemma: Is College Worth It?

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Jennifer Gutierrez                                                                 Gutierrez 1

Professor Vermouth

English 1001

April 17, 2014

                                The real dilemma: is college worth it?

The decision about going to college has become a lot harder within the years. The following question has been the main concern between those who are trying to decide whether or not they should attend college, is college worth it? There is not a truly straight forward answer, which makes it difficult for those that want a simple answer. Most people interested in attending college are in it to obtain a ‘better job’. Being that ever since grade school students are told that good education is the key to success. But is it really the key to success? The worth of college can be defined by financial matters, personal growth, or for intellectual knowledge. Whichever way you look at it, there is always a good side and a bad side.

Deciding to attend college involves considering some factor. Philip Oreopoulos a professor of economics at the University of Toronto and Uros Petronijevic a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Economics at the University of Toronto, review a research on the factors to consider before deciding to attend college (p. 45). They mention that the institution you decided to attend has a relatively high impact on you earning premium (p.45).  Earning benefits are also associated with the college majors (p.45). Obviously there are plenty of majors to choose from but they all require different levels to reach. This fact is very straight forward. For example, doctors make a lot more than let’s say a teacher. Even though they make more it takes a lot more

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schooling and money to obtain that career.  College graduates do have higher paying jobs but besides that they have professional jobs which provides them with benefits (Mellander, 2013, p.37).Michelle Adams explains about study done in 2009, which reports that college educated adults earn more than their high school educated peers. Those with a degree earn about eighty four percent more in a lifetime. The difference in earnings between college graduates and high school graduates is 19,550 a year (Adams, 2011, p. 10). A college student may earn more but if you consider all they paid for college it may not seem like they do. In the short run you may make more money working rather than attending college but in the long run you will make more money working as a college graduate in your career. The unemployment rate among college graduate is about 4.4 percent whereas the unemployment rate for high school graduates is 8.5 percent (Oreopulos and Petronijevic, 2013, p.45). Yet, Herbert points out that in 2011 fifty four percent of college graduates were unemployed or working unrelated jobs (p.18). It may be double the unemployment but there are some college graduates working jobs that are unrelated to their career.

College students are looking for an economic return. However college student’s tuition has become more expensive. Students end up paying more for schooling than what you end up earning in the future. In order for tuition to be going up there must be a high demand in attending college. Like mentioned before, college graduates earn eighty four percent more in a lifetime but considering the fact that they may have taken out loans to pay for schooling, do they really earn more? Once a student gets the degree they desire they can earn an occupation in their major. When they do so, they are expected to start paying off their loans. Yet, students are being suffocated with accumulating debt. Most of those graduates are unemployed and have no

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acquired skills (Herbert, 2013, p. 18). On the other hand, not all college graduates obtain jobs in their career. They may be working minimum wage jobs which may not require a college degree. That makes it a lot harder for them to starting paying off loan.

Mellander, in her article discusses the outcomes of loans. Students may think that large loans are an obligation, almost a necessity for attending college (p. 36). Students may also feel forced to take out loans to keep up with the expenses (p. 36). Student loans are sometimes woven in with the financial aid to help keep up with the growing expenditures while enrolled (p. 36). The increases in college expenses have outpaced the nation’s inflation rate by the double digits (p.37). In the article, The Question: Is College Worth It by Michelle Adam, it is mention that students reportedly stated that paying off loans makes it harder for to make ends meet. College graduates are said to make more than high school graduates but it seems like they lose more in the short run. Twenty four percent say that paying off loans have impacted the career they want to pursue. Seven percent reported that it delayed marriage. Students that have to pay off loans have also had difficulties purchasing homes (Adams, 2011, p.11). There are also those who may choice to not take out many loans in fear of the time to pay them back. In 2010 the estimated debt on loans was – 914 billion versus 672 billion (Herbert, 2013, p. 19). If you choose to go college you have to also consider the value of debt. Students remain stuck to loans for the rest of their life’s, bankruptcy does not eliminate them (Mellander, 2013, p.37). Some students borrow too little they are under investing in their education, which can lead to a less successful career (Oreopulos and Petronijevic, 2013, p.47). Student loans may seem terrible but on the other hand they can be very helpful. If you plan on using student loans leave it as you last resource. Explore



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