According to a recent study by Gallup Organization and Purdue University, only half of alumni believe college costs were a great investment, that eventually paid off.
The national poll was conducted in the first half of 2015, on around 30,000 alumni, who had graduated from four-year colleges in the United States. Researchers aimed to analyze the extent to which higher education had contributed to personal and professional success.
It was determined that approximately half of all college graduates strongly agreed that their tuition costs had been justified, and that the diploma had eventually paid for itself.
On the other hand, those who had graduated in 2006 or later were less confident that the education they received corresponded to the price they paid: 39% of them agreed that their expenses had been well-motivated.
Attitudes regarding the value of college degrees varied based on the type of school that had been attended: graduates of public colleges were more in agreement that the taxes had been reasonable (52%), in comparison with those who had preferred private nonprofit schools (47%).
The lowest degree of satisfaction towards college as a return on investment was reported among alumni of private for-profit universities. Just 26% of them were of the opinion that the tuition costs they had to pay were justified, when compared to the usefulness of the instruction they were provided with.
Nowadays, average college taxes amount to over $28,000 a year when it comes to public schools, and to more than $59,000 a year for people who attend private schools. To alleviate this financial burden, many students are forced to take out loans in order to pay for their education. Overall, U.S. students owe a mind-blowing $1.2 trillion in student loans, and this figure keeps escalating.
According to the study, approximately two thirds of recent alumni had resorted to student loans, and the average value of this debt was estimated at around $35,000. Only 33% of these respondents agreed that their education had been in correspondence with the price.
Indeed, on average, such debts are paid in 10 years, but sometimes other expenses related to housing and transportation result in alumni repaying the money after decades. Given these financial pressures, graduates are left wondering if investment in education was indeed well worth it.
It appears that there are certain factors that may cause students to think of tuition fees as having been justified. According to the survey, the most important one is establishing a strong, nurturing relationship with a college professor or a mentor.
Extracurricular activities also seem to fulfill the respondents’ need for self-actualization, allowing them to develop their intellect and experience personal growth. In addition, being involved in an internship, participating in a student club or carrying out a complex, long-term project are beneficial in making the degree seem worthwhile.
Given these findings, it appears that showing support of the students’ talents and making them feel like part of a community may shift their attitude towards hefty tuition costs. Eventually, they may feel less disenchanted with their college experience and appreciate the value of the education they’ve been given.
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