the financial cost vs benefits of college education

College Education: Is it Worth the Investment?

College students are currently paying higher tuition and receiving less, if any, after graduation. These developments have prompted many people to question whether paying for education is still a safe idea, as it was prior to the 1970s recession (Clotfelter 175). However, analyses of the economic returns obtained indicate that the rewards of a degree continue to outweigh the costs. Despite rising fees and declining incomes, returns can be seen to have stayed good. The biggest cause for this is that salaries for those without a college degree have plummeted. Therefore, the college wage premium is high and this has reduced largely the opportunity cost of studying in college. This research paper will answer the question whether the value or benefits of the college education should be viewed just in terms of the money earned or not.

The Cost and Benefits of College Education

When students are starting their college education they are very much excited about starting the new experience. Despite the excitement, they wonder whether the benefits of the education they will gain will be worth the cost they pay for it. The parents of these students pay the fees that may exceed 250,000 million dollars at the end of a degree program (Oreopoulos and Ryan 18). The parents as well wonder whether this amount of money could have brought more returns if it was invested elsewhere. There are also those students who borrow many thousands of dollars to pay for their fees, but later find it hard to get a well-paying job that will help them pay back the loan easily and in time. From their thinking, it can be concluded that college education is not worth investing in since it cannot provide a graduate with a good value for the money that was spent as fees, but I believe otherwise.

The Value of College Education

Many people still believe that a college education is a very worthy investment. They believe that being a graduate will translate to making more money immediately. Also, several jobs in the current society require at least a college degree for one to be employed. Because of this, college graduates stand a chance of getting more and better employment opportunities compared with those who do not have a degree. During the time one is in college, he is able to learn and improve their character of self-discipline since it is among the major elements of becoming a successful graduate (Baum 212). It has also been suggested that the people who have a college degree earn up to twice the annual income earned by the ones with just a high school degree.

Other Benefits of College Education

The fact that there are various jobs that do not require a college degree does not imply that college education is not a good investment. It has been noted that the people who have college degrees retain their jobs during the times of recession (Bennett and David 65). These individuals also have a lower rate of unemployment when compared with those who have just a high school degree. Because of this, the big payoff of a college education needs not be viewed in terms of the earnings, but in terms of the ability to get and maintain a job. So, if one is able to access the college education, it is a good idea to study and earn a degree having in mind that the benefits are not determined by the amount of financial compensation alone.

The Learning and Knowledge Gained

Apart from the benefits which are realized in terms of money, the learning and knowledge gained are itself very important as far as earning a degree is concerned. Research has shown that the individuals who are more educated live in better health and their children are also in better health. Also, their marriages are more stable when compared with those of people with less education. College education shape individuals to know how to live well as well as how to relate with others (Oreopoulos and Uros 50). Also, the exposure to several ways of doing things is helpful in shaping the lives of the graduate. Even when one is jobless, they are able to devise the ways in which they can earn their living since they learn the tips of starting a business and becoming self-employed.

Technical Skills and Personal Development

In college, students are able to learn as well as develop various technical skills like statistical analysis, computer programing and stage combat which are not developed in high school. This fact is very advantageous for the students and will enable them to be fit for a variety of available job opportunities (Koirala 70). Also, the student is able to discover oneself, explore their intellectual capacity as well as make great friends. These benefits are got for free since no fee is paid to earn them; it just takes availing oneself in a good college. They are very important since they enrich an individual and improve their personality.

The Future and Overall Net Benefit

Unlike high school education, the college education is worth having since it determines one’s future. Both parents and students, therefore, need to take this education seriously despite the rising amount of tuition fee. It is also believed that attending college is a step that leads one to a more comfortable lifestyle. One also gets an opportunity of obtaining a higher level of education that is advantageous for their thinking process and mind (Abel and Richard 12). Packing one’s brain with skills and knowledge about various concepts does one more good than harm.


The factors about the rising tuition fee and falling wages alone cannot determine whether the college education is worth investing in. When one takes into consideration all the costs and benefits involved, they will realize that investing in the college education is a wise decision. The college education is very beneficial, be it economically or socially, and this is clearly depicted by the misfortunes suffered by individuals without a college degree (Koirala 73). The good news is that the benefits of having a college degree are high on average regardless the field one majors in while studying.

The main point of this paper is not whether college education provides a net financial compensation for the cost paid. It instead provides the overall net benefit of a college degree. Most graduates have revealed that college education helped them to be mature individuals as well as to grow intellectually. In college, the students are taught more on how to get along with people and in this way their future lives are shaped well. Because of this, it is wise to conclude that despite the cost, college education provides a significant overall net benefit. This benefit is not for the student that attains the degree alone, but also for the society as a whole.

Works Cited

Abel, Jaison R., and Richard Deitz. "Do the benefits of college still outweigh the costs?" (2014).

Baum, Sandy, et al. "Trends in College Pricing, 2014. Trends in Higher Education Series." College Board (2014).

Bennett, William John, and David Wilezol. Is college worth it?: A former United States Secretary of Education and a liberal arts graduate expose the broken promise of higher education. Thomas Nelson Inc, 2013.

Clotfelter, Charles T. Buying the best: Cost escalation in elite higher education. Princeton University Press, 2014.

Koirala, Bharat. "Return and Cost of College Education." (2014).

Oreopoulos, Philip, and Ryan Dunn. "Information and college access: Evidence from a randomized field experiment." The Scandinavian Journal of Economics 115.1 (2013): 3-26.

Oreopoulos, Philip, and Uros Petronijevic. "Making college worth it: A review of the returns to higher education." The Future of Children 23.1 (2013): 41-65.

Tamanaha, Brian Z. "Is Law School Worth the Cost?." Journal of Legal Education 63.2 (2013): 173-188.

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