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  • Susan Stoderl

Literacy Begins with the First Word Read | A College Education Gives You Much More

In an April 26, 2023, Washington Post article entitled “A college degree is worth the cost—and then some,” Christopher L. Eisgruber, President of Princeton University, brought up a shocking fact. Currently, 56 percent of Americans now believe a college degree is not worth the money according to a survey conducted by the Wall Street Journal and independent research institute NORC at the University of Chicago. The same survey ten years ago found that 40 percent of Americans felt that way, an increase of 16 percent. He believes this belief is due to “hyperbolic discounting bias,” which translates to exaggerating the upfront costs and discounting future payoffs.

Recently, college attendance is associated with crushing student loan burdens. However, this is exaggerated. Only a few students pay full tuition. Most undergraduates get financial aid or other discounts. Highly literate high school students who work really hard throughout their education can often attend college tuition-free, being only responsible for room and board.

If you are not one of those students, the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, show that 42% of students at four-year public universities finished their bachelor’s degree with zero debt, 78% had less than $30,000 in debt and only 4% with more than $60,000. Students with over $100,000 in debt made up .05%. A student graduating with less than $30,000 in federal loans would have a payment of about $275 a month. It is possible also to get an income-driven repayment plan wherein students can pay 10% of their discretionary income.

Extra Benefits of a Four-Year Degree

  • Typical earnings for bachelor’s degree holders are $36,000 or 84 percent higher than those whose highest degree is a high school diploma.

  • College graduates, on average, make $1.2 million more over their lifetime.

  • Bachelor’s degree holders are 47% more likely to have health insurance provided through their job and typically their employers contribute 74% more to their health coverage.

  • Life expectancy is also longer for those who attend college. They can expect an extra seven years.

My day job for most of my life was as a legal administrative assistant. Only one had some college, most had a bachelor’s degree, and some of us had one or more master’s degrees. The longest I was ever unemployed was one week, and usually two or three days. My Master’s degree loan amount was $22,000.


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