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Is a college education worth it? Grads are divided

Key Points
  • These days, a college degree requires going deep into debt.
  • As for whether it was worth it, more than half of adults say yes.
  • An overwhelmingly majority of parents would like to see their children attend college.
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Why college is so expensive in America

A college education is likely one of the biggest expenses you'll face in your lifetime.

For many, it also requires going deep into debt. Seven in 10 seniors graduate in the red, owing about $30,000 per borrower, according to the most recent data from the Institute for College Access & Success.

And although total student loan debt stands at an all-time high of $1.5 trillion, the majority of graduates have no regrets — for the most part.

As for whether college was worth the debt accrued, 58% of adults said yes, according to a new poll of 500 adults by GoBankingRates. Conversely, 42% said no — in part because of the impact such a significant financial commitment can have on other major milestones, such as buying a house or starting a family.

Still, slightly less than half, or 44%, of respondents said that their college degree is "very valuable" to their career goals, whereas only about 11% said it was not valuable at all, GoBankingRates found.

Most agree that they wouldn't have their job without their degree.

However, as more people go to college, some experts say the value of a bachelor's degree is fading. Starting salaries for new college graduates have grown less than 1% over the last two years, remaining at around $50,000.

A decade after leaving school, more than 1 in 5 college graduates are working in a job that doesn't even require a degree.

However, those with a college degree still earn more: $65,482, on average in 2016, versus $35,615 for those with a high school diploma, according to a 2017 report from the U.S. Census Bureau.

According to a separate survey on "How America Values College" by lender Sallie Mae, 90% of families agreed college is still a worthwhile investment.

And as for whether parents want to see their children attend college, an overwhelmingly majority do, GoBankingRates said.

More from Personal Finance:
How to negotiate for more college financial aid
The best schools for financial aid
How not to regret college

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