Is College Worth the Cost?

It’s that time of year when many high school seniors are donning silly hats and listening to clichéd speeches about the future. They are also making decisions about whether or not to attend college. A recent survey released by PEW Research Center and the Chronicle of Higher Education has revealed some alarming information about the state of America’s colleges and the prohibitive costs of accessing the American Dream. Anyone who has gone to college in the last few decades understands the crippling cost that can accompany higher education (I for one will be paying off my loans for many, many years to come). The cost continues to rise and there is no ceiling in site. With the state of the economy, and fewer than 25% of college grads finding full-time work after graduation, legitimate questions are being raised about the cost/benefit of a college education.

Public anxiety over college costs is at an all-time high. And low-income college graduates or those burdened by student-loan debt are questioning the value of their degrees, or saying the cost of college has delayed other life decisions.

While most people cite the role of a University education is to provide a greater competitive edge in the market (with a college degree holder making on average $20,000/year). However, when questioned, most college administrators cite its role in personal and intellectual growth. A wonderful ideal, but is it worth a six figure price-tag?

There is no doubt that the American educational system is in crisis. During a budget crunch year, destroyed economy, and rising global pressures, we must re-examin the American Educational system.

Read more about about this survey and its implications via this article at PEW and the Chronicle of Higher Education.

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About Jennifer Carey

My name is Jennifer Carey and I am a student and educator of the human condition. I have long studied history, trained in archaeology, and found a passion in the field of education. As a long-time lover of technology (my father bought our family our first Apple IIe when I was three), I love technology and what it can bring to the classroom. I have taught at various Universities for many years as well as educating gifted teenagers through the Johns Hopkins program, the Center for Talented Youth. I am currently the Director of Educational Technology at the Ransom Everglades School (a secular independent school) in Miami, Fl. I also have a few educational podcasts on iTunes from my days teaching at TCU: The Ancient City of Rome, Classical Archaeology (2008), Classical Archaeology (2009), Introduction to Classical Myth, and Ancient Eats. They’re enhanced (so you get the PowerPoints along with the vocal), but please excuse the poor audio editing. Feel free to Email Me or follow me on twitter.
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4 Responses to Is College Worth the Cost?

  1. Jen,

    Lovely and timely post regarding college. Might I share a link to those in your audience that are part of the LGBTQ community as they reflect on going off to college?

    • Jennifer Lockett says:

      Thank you Michael! It’s amazing to me that a college education is becoming so far out of reach for most people or, perhaps worse yet, ultimately financially crippling.
      Thanks for sharing the link!

  2. Certainly speaks to the increasing class divide in America.

  3. Jim Wheeler says:

    I’m pleased that you “liked” my own post on the subject here. I think it is the lack of standards in the education industry that makes the issue you pose so hard to answer. When there is no good definition for what constitutes a college education, how are you to know what you are paying for?

    Colleges may offer stats about job placement and individual testimonials, but I suggest that isn’t enough. Somehow the student has to figure it out herself.

    For what it’s worth, after 7 decades of life and two advanced degrees I have decided this:

    1. The quality of an education is directly proportional to the effort one puts into it and bears little relation to the tuition cost in dollars.
    2. The best education is one that sets you on a lifelong course as an autodidact.

    Good luck, Jen

    Jim Wheeler

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