There’s no question that being a college student can be a lot of fun. It was for me. But is the high cost of a college education really worth it?
I think a Bachelor’s Degree is a good thing to have in the 21st Century, but it also depends on what you’re hoping to get out of it. Some people say a Master’s Degree is only worth pursuing if you can get your employer to pay for it, or if you have your sights set on a PhD. Millennials and Gen Z may not want much to do with any of it.
According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Millennials and Gen Z are not as enthusiastic about higher education as the older generations were. One reason is the low return on investment. Since 2013, student debt has grown by around $600 billion. Meanwhile, wages haven’t grown much at all.
My oldest son is currently a freshman at UNC. He has a pretty clear idea of what he wants to do for a career so, in his case, pursuing a four-year degree makes sense. But he will have some student debt when he graduates.
My youngest son is a junior in high school and is still thinking about the path he might want to take. It wouldn’t surprise or upset me if he pursued a less expensive alternative to a traditional college education. The U.S. Labor Department says apprenticeships have nearly doubled between 2012 and 2019 and that model appears to be working for a lot of young adults. Meanwhile, the number of freshmen enrolling in college dropped by 16% this year.