With millions of students returning to college campuses this year, and a nation still reeling from the recent debt ceiling debates and ongoing economic uncertainty, the question looms: Is a college education still worth the price?
The return on investment for a college education still pays off in the long term. College graduates consistently earn higher average incomes than their non-degreed counterparts and experience lower unemployment rates.
Yet it’s impossible to ignore the rapidly escalating cost of earning a college degree. Tuition alone at public four-year universities rose 7.9 percent in 2010-2011, to an average of $7,605. Tuition costs for private, for-profit institutions averaged $13,935, representing a 5.1 percent increase compared to 2009-2010. These tuition hikes are often accompanied by dwindling state and federal financial support for higher education.
So the more pertinent question becomes not whether a college degree is worth pursuing, but how can students get a high quality college education affordably?