Daniel, age 28 has over $40,000 in student loan debt, pays 24% of his monthly salary to student loans, and works in a job that doesnt require a college degree. It would seem that Daniels college degree was not worth it. Although soaring tuition costs are burdening college students with excessive student loan debt in an uncertain economy, the increased employment opportunities, higher salaries, and knowledge and skills that are gained makes a college education worth it. .
Quantitative data using employment and earning statistics is a good comparison to evaluate if a college education is worth it. According to the Bureau of Labor statistics the unemployment rates for 2013 were 6.1% for all workers, 7.5% for high school graduates, and 4% for college graduates with a bachelors degree. Based on 1997 1999 earnings the U.S. Census Bureau statistics calculated average lifetime earnings as follows: with a high school diploma $1.2 million, with a bachelors degree $2.1 million, and with a masters degree $2.5 million. Full-time employees with a bachelors degree earn nearly twice as much as those with only a high school diploma over their lifetime and have almost 50% less unemployment rate. .
The higher salaries earned over a lifetime make the cost of a college education a worthwhile investment. The Bureau of Labor statistics for median weekly earnings in 2013 calculate weekly earnings for high school graduates at $651 and $1108 for college graduates with a bachelors degree. In an article written in 2012 for Forbes, John Ebersole states, The median cost of a four-year degree in-state at a public institution is about $16,000 per year, or $64,000 overall. Using these numbers the return on investment for a $64,000 college education investment is 1385.25%. That is nearly 14 times more than the cost of a college education. From a financial perspective getting a college education is a worthwhile investment.