Is the rising cost of college worth it?

Is the rising cost of college worth it?
Posted at 11:33 AM, Nov 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-13 11:33:10-05

The cost of a college education continues to rise. Experts say it's gone up more than 25 percent in the past decade.

It begs the question "Is it worth it?"

“I met a social worker, and it just checked off everything I wanted to do, helping people, just being involved in the community and speaking up for those who could not," said Courtney Costelnock, a social worker.

Courtney Costelnock graduated from Madonna University in 2012, heading into social work.

Reporter Darren Cunningham spoke with Courtbey after she responded to a 7 Action News Facebook post, asking viewers if they thought a college degree is worth it.

Many said it depends on the degree. Some said no, they are now saddled with debt.

With the current pandemic, a lot of students are sitting at home, questioning if the amount in tuition is worth virtual learning.

Others promoted the trades for great pay and to avoid debt.

Costelnock, who’s paying back loans of her own, says she has no regrets since she’s doing what she loves.

“I knew going into social work that it wasn’t a field where you’re going to make huge amounts of money, but I have that heart where the payoff is helping somebody," said Courtney.

Andrew Gillen studies higher education policy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

He says the question shouldn’t be ‘is a college degree worth it?’ but rather, which degrees are worth it.

“Even though college was usually worth it, there was a significant chunk of people who it wasn’t worth it for and now we can actually help prevent a lot of those cases from happening," said Andrew Gillen, a senior policy analyst.

He says last fall, the U.S. Department of Education started releasing information on debt to earnings ratio, illustrating what students stand to make in a particular degree from a particular college comparing median salaries to the debt they’ll take on.

He says one approach is not to borrow more for college than your expected starting salary.

“Once students start making use of this and once schools start using the data to inform which programs they should expand and contract, I think this is really going to lead to a huge huge shift in higher education," said Gillen.