College degrees decreasing in value

Madison Rexroat

Achieving a college education is costing more and paying off less. Since 1636 (when Harvard was founded), college enrollments in the U.S. rose steadily and almost never experienced a decline. However, between 2011 and 2016, total enrollments, including even at traditional four-year schools, have declined every fall.

These declines could be partly attributed to a drop in birth rates and an increase in different job opportunities, but the biggest change is the diminishing return of a college degree.

From 2000 to 2016, college tuitions rose by about 3 percent annually, reaching a total of 74.5 percent for the entire period. Student-loan debt is higher than ever, with the total debt amounting to $1.3 trillion as a nation.

With all of those increasing costs, almost 40 percent of recent college graduates are underemployed, funding themselves by being Uber drivers or baristas. The earnings difference between high school graduates and college graduates, while it’s still nearly $30,000 on average, is slowly decreasing. The costs of attending college simply do not match the decreasing benefits, making even murkier the true value of a college education.

To read the full article in The Wall Street Journal, click here.