To College or Not to College?

Jessica Winkler - Thursday, October 16, 2014

As a parent of three kids currently enrolled in college, the painful contrast of money spent on tuition (and room and board, books and…) verses the missed dollars they could be earning with a full-time job is sharply digging under my ribs. 

Time magazine (October 29, 2012) reports that by 2020, 65% of all jobs will require a post secondary education. A master’s degree is what an undergraduate degree used to be valued at. The cost of those degrees continually rises. In 1993, 46% of college students had debt, averaging $14,500. In 2011 that number had increased to 66% having debt, averaging $26,600. The crushing figure entwined in this is the unemployment rate for college grads: 1.5 million. Put another way, 53.6% of bachelor's degree-holders under the age of 25 are jobless or underemployed. 

Is the value of these degrees worth the money spent? As we look at rapidly changing environments where innovation is king—are college degrees really the best way to spend our dollars and our time? What if we spent as much energy finding mentors and learning from them in dynamic practically applied cultures? Could we then get away with less formal schooling? Before you get defensive, please know I am highly educated and love what I learned in the colleges I attended. But is that the best course now, for our younger generations?

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