Skip to Content

Americans Are Divided on Whether College Degrees Are Worth It

Americans are losing faith that four-year college degrees are worth the price of tuition, according to a new poll.

A survey by the Wall Street Journal and NBC shows that people — especially those without four-year degrees — are less convinced that college is worth it than they were four years ago. The majority of men, people who live in rural areas and people aged 18–34 said that the four-year degree wasn’t worth the cost, the Journal reports.

Respondents were almost evenly split: 47% said college was not worth the cost due to student debt and because people do not necessarily graduate with job skills, while 49% said a degree was worth the cost because it could help people earn more money. That two percentage point difference has narrowed from 13 percentage points in 2013, when CNBC polled with the same question.

Most of that difference is due to an increasing doubt in the value of college among people who didn’t go to college, finish college or earned a 2-year degree, according to the Journal. Studies have shown, the Journal adds, that those who graduate from four-year colleges are financially much better off than those who do not.

Pollsters interviewed 1,200 people from Aug. 5–9 for the WSJ/NBC poll, which has a margin of error of 2.82 percentage points.