These days, most students grow up hearing that a college education is the path to a good job, financial success, and happy life.

But is it true?

Is College Really Worth It?

In the wake of 2008, countless stories have circulated about baristas with Master’s degrees and students with degrees and six-figure debt who simply could not find a job. Graduates who did manage to find employment were often underemployed or working in a field unrelated to their degree.

Some may, understandably, be questioning whether college is worth it at all. Let’s take a look at where we’re at ten years after the recession and the effect of the recession on education.

Why Is College Important?

Higher earnings, a better quality of life

In 2015, college graduates earned 56% more than high school graduates–the largest difference to date. The disparity goes beyond just money; a college degree is changing Americans’ prospects for everything from home-ownership to voting to geographic mobility to retirement.

Infographic displaying the effects of a college education
The effects of a college education spill into the quality of life, income, and even success in marriage.

Better chances of employment

The trend isn’t improving over time for high school-only grads either; while in 2007, 73% of high school-only graduates were employed, in 2015, only two-thirds of these workers were employed. Among college-educated graduates, employment dipped only one percent, from 84% to 83%.

Saving for retirement

Even when college grads and high school grads had similar incomes and the same access to retirement plans, college graduates saved 26% more for retirement. This can have wide implications for the younger generation fifty years from now.

As pensions shrink and concerns about Social Security’s solvency are raised, it may fall entirely to individuals to secure funds for their retirement. Those who don’t contribute enough may find themselves unable to stop working.

Education leads to a better life

Pew Research Center has already found that life has become more difficult for those who haven’t completed college, while earnings have improved for college graduates; these effects will likely only be exacerbated as college degrees become the standard of education.

Is College Worth the Debt?

We know that a good college degree is a solid path to avoiding unemployment, but attending college is in no way an easy undertaking.

The average cost of tuition is more than twice what it was in 1986, and many people incur significant debt in order to attend.

When Planning For College, You Should Consider

If you are planning on pursuing a college degree, here are a few key things to consider and steps to take to make the process smoother:

Consider your interests and goals

Contemplating going to college is an important life decision and can be pretty nerve-wracking. To make this process a little easier, ponder upon your interests and goals by answering the following questions:

  1. What field are you interested in?
  2. What are you good at?
  3. What are your career goals?
  4. Do you need a college degree to achieve your goals?
  5. Are you willing to move to attend college?
  6. Can you handle it financially?
  7. Is there another path to take to achieve your goals?

Big life decisions take a lot of time and consideration, which is why it’s essential to consider all the options and opportunities available to you, so you don’t regret your decision later in life. The sooner you start thinking about what you want, the better. This will help you devise a good plan and put it into action to get the best outcome without wasting time in the long run.

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Research different types of institutions

When you decide to pursue a college degree and go through with it, you will get precisely that—a college degree. Because of this guaranteed end product, you might think the exact college you attend has little to no importance. You’re mistaken. The kind of college or university you enroll in can have a significant impact on a few crucial factors, e.g., overall education, available programs, tuition, etc. So before choosing a school, make sure what they have to offer aligns with your needs and goals.

Understand the true cost of college

Most people know that pursuing a college degree means paying hefty tuition. Many don’t realize that on top of the tuition, students have other great expenses (e.g., textbooks, housing, meal plans, etc.) that, when added up, cost you an arm and a leg. This is why it is essential to keep yourself informed and always up to date on the financial aid and scholarships available. Another great way to cut the cost of a college degree is living off-campus or enrolling in an online program.

Plan ahead to meet important deadlines

Last but not least, transitioning from high school to college can be overwhelming because you encounter so many new challenges in such a short amount of time. For your own peace of mind and to make the process easier, try planning things ahead to avoid any unpleasant surprises. Keep track of your deadlines like college applications, scholarship applications, SATs exams, etc., so you don’t miss any.

How the University of the Potomac Makes a Difference

Low tuition fees, high quality

The University of the Potomac wants to remove these barriers to higher education. Compare these sky-high tuition rates to Potomac’s tuition rates: $240 per credit hour. For a 15-hour semester, considered full-time at most schools, a student would pay only $3,600.

We want people to be able to complete an education without incurring massive amounts of debt, and alongside offering much lower tuition, we want to make sure our students are getting degrees in disciplines that will yield better earnings long-term.

Infographic displaying a comparison of affordability at five D.C. accredited universities
A comparison of affordability at five Washington D.C. accredited universities.

Career-driven degrees and practitioner-led teaching staff

A study by Georgetown University found that the difference in lifetime earnings between the lowest and highest-paying college majors is over $3 million. The highest-paying majors are to be found in the tech and computer science industries, as well as in the actuarial sciences; half of the graduates in the latter will be making over six figures after ten years.

The University of the Potomac wants to put more people on the path toward one of these high-paying jobs. We are fully accredited and offer six Bachelor of Science degrees, five Associate of Science degrees, 14 certificate programs, and an MBA program in disciplines centered around accounting, business, information technology, and cybersecurity–all growing fields with high-income potential.

The practitioner-led teaching staff and strategy over at Potomac University enables students to get a job as soon as they graduate.

Online classes

We offer tuition much lower than the majority of schools to bring higher education to more people. We realize not everyone’s lifestyle allows them to take classes full-time, so classes at Potomac are offered both in-person and online; you can complete coursework at your own pace.

Higher education holds the keys to a secure future. We want to bring that future to as many people as we possibly can.

Infographic displaying a closer look at the numbers for the college education