There are a lot of things to consider when planning for your future. College isn’t always for everyone- the world needs plumbers and electricians, too- but the statistics show you can expect to earn an average of $1 million more over the course of a lifetime than the average high school graduate if you graduate from college.
Unfortunately college has also never been as expensive as it is now. It has outpaced inflation by more than two times, making it both more important than ever and less affordable than ever. These days nearly 70% of college graduates have racked up some debt by the time they graduate, and the average debt load is close to $38,000! It takes an average of 21 years for those with student loans to pay them back, resulting in the current situation of three quarters of Americans saying college is too expensive to afford.
There are many reasons to go to college. For starters, your job opportunities and job security are considerably higher when you have a four year degree. But even outside of the career opportunities that college graduates have, there are some pretty significant personal gains to be had. College graduates can expect to have more successful marriages- 78% of college educated women can expect their first marriage to last more than 20 years, while 65% of college educated men can expect the same. Having a career path and not just a job can lead to a higher level of satisfaction. Over half of college graduates report being satisfied with their jobs, compared with less than 40% of high school graduates.
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Learn more about the value of a college education, both economically and personally, from this infographic. It isn’t easy to afford and the cost continues to grow exponentially, but you almost can’t afford not to.