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College can be expensive, but so is being unemployed



September 19, 2012
College is expensive and it's only getting pricier.

Should you go to college even though we are in a recession?

Many Forsyth County School students had to grapple with these questions at a college fair last week in Cumming.

But the majority of students I spoke with had a clear focus.

College equals jobs.

Are there really enough jobs out there?

The answer, if you are a college graduate, is likely to be yes.

The unemployment rate for college grads 25 and older was 4.6 percent in 2009, compared to 9.7 percent for high school graduates.

Long gone are the days where a high school diploma, GED or no degree was enough to earn a living.

The college degree has become the high school diploma.

If you think it's too expensive of an investment, consider that since 1995, the cost of a college education has nearly doubled, an article in a recent Newsweek magazine points out.

In addition, there are two costs of college.

One is the obvious — tuition. The other is the cost of not working, or simply working a part-time gig.

That can run some students into debt. Some estimates put a degree debt at $40,000 to $100,000. That's a hefty $900-a month loan repayment bill you're getting stuck with after the graduation ceremony.

So, is a college education worth the cost?

Statistics show that you will earn more if you have a college education.

College grads make 80 percent more than people who have only a high-school diploma and the wage premium for elite colleges can be even higher.

A report released last year by the College Board found that women between the ages of 25 to 34 earned 79 percent more than those with a high school diploma, and men, 74 percent more. Ten years ago, women with a college degree had a 60 percent pay premium to men's 54 percent, according to the study.

A college education is also training grounds for your brain. Yes, thinking.

A college education can help you see what's possible and what's real.

And the reality today is, if an employer has a high school graduate competing for a bartending position against a candidate with a bachelor's degree, guess who is more likely to be hired?

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