Is a college degree worth student loan debt?

Is a college degree worth student loan debt?

Some recent graduates question whether the high cost education is worth the burden of student debt.

The Gallup Organization, along with Purdue University, conducted a poll of about 30,000 graduates of four-year schools in the United States, and overall, half of all alumni answered “strongly agree” to the question about whether the college education was worth the cost.

However, the poll, cited on, also showed that among recent graduates (since 2006), only 38 percent felt the cost was justified.  And in that group, just 18 percent felt the education was worth the cost, when their debt was $50,000 or more.  An equal number “strongly disagreed” that the expense was worth it.

Only about 15 percent of the respondents in the poll had taken out $50,000 or more in student loans to complete their education.  But the study revealed that borrowing money for education at any level dampened the perception of the college experience for recent graduates.

The poll was conducted to allow researchers to measure college performance that focuses on what matters to the students.

It is likely that the group that received their bachelor’s degrees will get a faster return on their investment, thanks to higher earnings and a lower rate of unemployment compared to their peers with only a high school education.

So why do the recent graduated feel the cost was unjustified?  Possibly, the newer graduates are still feeling the impact of the recession and the some of the media attention on financial problems and slow-recovering economy.

It is also sometimes difficult to see the long-term picture of increased earning and potential, with the shadow of a large debt hanging over their heads.

Brandon Busteed, who oversaw the poll for Gallup said, “This is the alumni themselves. And what we know is that less than 20 percent who took out $50K or more feel that it was worth it. That’s a big eye opener. If we can’t get over that, I fear we risk the tidal wave of higher ed demand crashing down on us.”



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