Is Your Bachelors Degree Worth It?

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In the 70’s, nearly any college degree guaranteed a well-paying job. Now that a majority of Americans enter college, the choice of degree may mean the difference between a successful career and bankrupcty. Families are increasingly relying on debt to finance education, and with rising tuition costs, that simply doesn’t always pay off. An intense belief in the value of college may be hurting us more than it helps, particularly among the low-paying degrees.
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IS YOUR BACHELORS DEGREE WORTH IT? In the 70’s, nearly any college degree guaranteed a well-paying job. Now that a majority of Americans enter college. the choice of degree may mean the difference between a successful career and bankruptcy. Families are increasingly relying on debt to finance education, and with rising tuition costs, that simply doesn’t always pay off. An intense belief in the value of college may be hurting us more than it helps, particularly among the low-paying degrees. You’re Unique, Just Like Everyone Else With each passing decade, Americans have completed more years of schooling 1970 28% 51% 21% 1980 17% 32% 32% 1990 11% 50% 39% 2000 7% 42% 51% 2010 5% 39% 56% % of population that completed some or all of: Elementary High School College Are For-Profit Schools Only In It For Your Money? Graduates of for-profit schools have the most debt and highest loan default rates For Profit 10.5% 53% Private 5.5% 24% Public 7.6% 12% Growth In the number of bachelor’s degrees issued by school type from 1999 to 2009. 21% Public 29% Private 418% For-Profit Tuition Costs are Rising Faster than Pay The median pay for full-time employees fer age 24 with bachelors degrees is riot keeping pace with the cost of the degrees themselves. High Debt is Dangerous For the first time ever, student debt exceeds credit card debt as families struggle to afford tuition. $30K +72% Private Tuition + Fees $20K +35% Public Tuition + Fees $6K +26% $0 Median Pay (Monthly) 2000-01 06-08 10-11 $10008 $8008 $926 Billion $6008 $4008 $2008 $0 1996 2000 2003 2008 2010 Total federal + Private student Debt Revolving credit Starting Pay by Degree Low-Income degrees may no longer pay off, leaving graduates to struggle with their debts $109,000 Approximate total tuition -------------$l00K for 4-year undergraduate education at average private school $93,000 Petroleum Engineering ---------------------------------------$90K ---------------------------------------$80K ---------------------------------------$70K Chemical Engineer ---------------------------------------$60K Computer Science Biomedical Engineering ---------------------------------------$50K Mathematics $44,500 10% of bachelor’s degree recipients had at least this much debt in 2008 ---------------------------------------$40K Business $33,430 - Average student borrower predicted to graduate with this much debt in 2011 $30,400 - Approximate total tuition for 4-year underg raduate education at public school -----------------------------------------$30K Political Science Health Sciences Architecture -----------------------------------------$20K Fine Arts Education Social Work ------------------------------------------$10K --------------------------------------------$0K 66.5% of students now graduating with student or parent loans (2011 estimate)