Many graduates today say they have regrets about college — and not just that they partied when they could have been studying.
As part of its Biggest College Regrets report, PayScale surveyed 248,000 U.S. respondents who have at least a bachelor's degree and found that nearly two-thirds regret something about their higher education.
Some of these regrets are understandable — studying the wrong field, for example, or not making advantageous connections. But by far, the college regret reporting by the greatest number of those surveyed is taking out student loans.
At a time when the national student loan debt has ballooned to nearly $1.6 trillion, the study found at 28.8% of millennial employees regret cost of their college degrees more than anything else. That's the greatest percentage of any generation surveyed — 26% of Gen Xers have the same regret, as do 13% of Baby Boomers.
"This points to the struggle that has so strongly defined millennials: the student debt crisis," the study notes.
"The burden of student loans is a plight shared by every group in this research, but the degree of student loan regret changes throughout these data cuts," states the report. "Those who are younger, majored in lower-earning fields or attended private universities tended to regret their student loans the most."
While graduates of all majors had regrets about the debt they took on to pursue higher education, those who graduated with degrees in humanities were most regretful – health sciences, art, and social sciences making up the top three.
Those who pursued degrees in engineering and computer science, and who have higher income potential, were the most satisfied with their college degrees. They were joined by graduates with an education degree, who, though they typically earn less, demonstrate the second-highest level of degree satisfaction.
"While the experience of going to college is a cultural ideal for many," says PayScale Director Wendy Brown in a statement, "the cold realities of cost and income are making many students regret their college decisions."
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