Are College Loans Worth It?
Headlines about the growing cost of education and the massive amount of debt burdening students after graduating college are prevalent. Student debt levels have grown to astronomical levels since the early 2000s, with total student debt in the U.S. approaching $1.5 trillion at the end of the first quarter of 2019.
Not all of the factors behind the increase in student debt are bad. For instance, more people are going to college now than ever before, largely due to the fact that approximately 65% of job openings in the U.S. require some level of education beyond high school, such as an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. On the other side of the equation, the increase in debt is also attributable to the cost of education which has grown at an annualized rate of 5.5% over the last 30 years. As the cost of education surges, more people are focusing on the tradeoff and asking themselves, is the cost of college really worth it?
The pursuit of higher education is ingrained in our culture and college is viewed as a crucial step in advancing your professional career. If the perceived importance of college wasn’t already obvious, the recent “Varsity Blues” college bribery scandal, which involved some of the most rich and famous people in the country, serves as a stark reminder of the extremes some people will take to get into a good school.
Interestingly, while an advanced degree may seem like a necessity, a recent survey indicates nearly two thirds of U.S. college graduates have regrets about their education because of student loans. Surveys also show soon-to-be college graduates lack the preparedness needed to feel financially secure when leaving college. Experian recently conducted a survey of near-term graduates which indicated:
- 40% rate their financial security as poor or fair;
- Only 16% have a job lined up after graduation;
- 57% wish they had taken on less student loan debt; and
- Only 53% feel that being debt free is an attainable goal.
While the debate about the cost of education and the mounting student debt continues to attract headlines, most people will agree higher education is one of the most reliable paths to ensure future success. Nevertheless, alternatives such as trade schools or apprenticeship/vocational programs are expected to garner more support and enrollment as students seek to avoid the financial burden associated with four-year, higher education degrees.
To learn more about MHT Partners, a leading education investment bank, please contact Alex Hicks (firstname.lastname@example.org).
 US Federal Reserve Bank of New York
 Georgetown University, Recovery: Job Growth and Education Requirements Through 2020
 National Center for Education Statistics
 PayScale, Inc. Online Salary Survey