Is college worth it? This is what recent grads are saying

September 29, 2015, 5:48 PM UTC
student computers classroom
College students studying at computers in classroom
Photograph by Getty Images

We’ve all heard this before, and we’ll likely continue hearing it for a while, but here it is once again: the Wall Street Journal reports that many recent college graduates doubt that their education was worth the price.

According to the second annual Gallup-Purdue index, which polled over 30,000 recent graduates in the first half of 2015, 50% overall strongly agreed that their degree was worth the expense, but that number changes when different variables are introduced.

For those who graduated from public universities, it increases slightly to 52%, and it goes down to 47% for private school graduates. The number takes a hard hit with students who graduated from for-profit universities, of which only 26% perceived their education as having been worth the price.

Student debt is a significant factor when calculating the perception of value for one’s college degree. Around two-thirds of students graduate college with an average debt of $35,000. Only one-third of those financially-burdened grads who finished school between 2006 and 2015 strongly agreed their degree was worth the subsequent debt.

Overwhelming student debt forces people to delay post-college milestones, including going back to school, moving out of parents’ homes, buying a car or house, starting a business, getting married, and having children.

Mitch Daniels, president of Purdue University and former Indiana governor who created the survey, said that these “results serve as another reminder that student loan debt can be a significant obstacle to a student’s future success—and, in some cases, a long-term handicap.”