Is College Worth Its Rising Price Tag?


Out Into the World – College Graduation by Aaron Hawkins via Flickr – CC BY-ND 2.0

Every year, high school seniors are faced with one of the most significant decisions of their lifetime. These young adults have to decide what path to take after graduation. Although there are several options to consider such as a gap year, working, or traveling, enrolling in a college or university is the most popular path high school graduates choose to take. However, college tuition has been consistently increasing 3-4% each year. Therefore, is college really worth it?
According to college professor Steven Pearlstein of The Washington Post, college is not worth it. Pearlstein explains how his coworker argued that the majority of the knowledge students walk away with after graduating college “can be explained simply by the talent, knowledge and discipline that they already had when they arrived for freshman orientation.” Therefore, Pearlstein believes college is not worth the recent increases in money, tedious assignments, and stress that every student goes through.
Alex Baumhardt and Emily Hanford of The Atlantic explain how many students have been recently dropping out of college due to student loan debt. According to Baumhardt and Hanford, “Almost a third of Americans who take out loans to pay for their education don’t end up getting a diploma.” These students are then trapped, since they have thousands of dollars in debt to pay off without a diploma to obtain an adequate paying job.
Canton High School Junior Ariana Mainville feels college is not worth it. Mainville feels that there are “so many jobs available to people without college degrees,” and that there is “so much college debt that adults are still trying to pay off.”
Rather than attending college after graduation, Mainville plans to go to Sweden to start her life in order to maintain her dual citizenship, despite feeling “a great amount of pressure from the school’s guidance department to go to college.” Mainville explains how the guidance department holds “mandatory college meetings, but never shines a light on the vast amount of other options that are out there.”
Ultimately, Mainville feels “alone” in her search for post graduation plans as a result of not choosing to go to college right away.
On the other side of things, many people feel strongly about the benefits and opportunities a college experience and a college degree provide. Canton resident and Syracuse University freshman Sarah Grinnell believes college is worth it because of the endless opportunities to “meet people from different backgrounds, which gives you a more vast perspective on life.”
In addition to preparing individuals for the world, Grinnell believes that college is the greatest opportunity to find yourself and “learn about things you are actually interested in.” Although Grinnell agrees that college is very expensive and there are many other options, college is a very intellectual investment.
Canton High School Junior Kayla Jaeggi has just begun arranging her post-graduation plans. Jaeggi plans to attend a 4-year university, and strongly believes college is the best path people can take. “You can get a job that pays you more than minimum wage, and you can live the lifestyle you want to live without having to struggle,” Jaeggi explains.
Jaeggi is very grateful for the assistance the guidance department is providing through individual as well as class meetings, since she is “the oldest child in her family, and has no older siblings to help guide her in the college search and application process.”
Being faced with this life altering decision is inevitable for students all over the world. Although there are many paths to choose, these students have one thing in common; the path they choose is what begins the rest of their lives.