Recent grads and their professors say it isn’t, and your kids may not be able to cover the costs after they graduate.

4 minute read

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Parents often consider degrees so important they’ll tighten their belts to help their kids get them. But the academics who teach those kids don’t seem to think they need one.

Most professors (87 percent) say the cost of tuition is too high, according to research from Top Hat, a company that provides online teaching programs. [1] And half feel college isn’t necessary to succeed in life — up from just 33 percent who felt that way last year.

And the students who put in the work to get their degree say college didn’t teach them something crucial: how to deal with their student debt.

Colleges are failing students in financial preparedness

It’s no surprise college students are unhappy with how much their alma mater prepared them for dealing with credit and debt. But a national study from Experian tries to quantify it, and 1 in 5 grads give their college an F. [2]

Fifty-five percent of students say they feel like they are “going it alone” in dealing with money. Research also reveals that:

  • Many are stressed about loan repayments: 37 percent
  • Fewer than half  know their credit score: 47 percent
  • More than half feel like “the odds are stacked against them”: 53 percent

And the prospects of effectively paying off these loans after college don’t seem very promising. Grads say that:

  • They believe they’ll be paying back their loans for a long time: 59 percent
  • They feel concerned about paying back their current debt: 72 percent
  • They don’t have a post-graduation job lined up: 84 percent

Meanwhile, most students (54 percent) believe they will probably defer their loans. Even with these discouraging numbers, respondents remain optimistic. Many (53 percent) believe being “debt free” is in reach.

So while you’re contemplating your next moves, don’t forget to educate yourself on your loans and credit. Check out some of Debt.com’s student debt solutions.

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Professors say it’s too expensive

Nine out of 10 professors agree textbooks cost too much money, Top Hat’s survey shows.

And a lot of them think those books don’t do the job. More than half (57 percent) say they assign other materials to make up for “problems with the main course textbook, such as datedness and lack of attention to certain topics.”

It’s not just books that cost. Last year, consumers spent a record $47 billion on back-to-college shopping, according to research from consulting firm Deloitte. [3]

And in true professor style, most think the students aren’t doing all they can to get enough out of their classes…

  • The majority of professors (71 percent) don’t believe most students come ready to class.
  • And more than half (51 percent) think students aren’t paying attention.
  • Which 60 percent of them say signals that “apathy among students has increased in the past decade.”

Families still want to pay for college

Student loan provider Sallie Mae found families of diverse income brackets “are equally willing to stretch financially for the opportunity of college.” [4]

It breaks down like this:

  • 85 percent of low-income families agree
  • Matched by 83 percent of middle-income families
  • And 84 percent of high-income families

What’s their reasoning?

  • Nine in 10 agree college is an investment in the student.
  • A majority (83 percent) say students with degrees “will earn more money.”
  • And 77 percent say degrees are “more important now” than they used to be.

Families with low credit scores who help students with college expenses are three times more likely to run out of money every month — but still, offer a hand.

Investment company Elevate surveyed Americans about how they handle the growing burden of college expenses — a significant cost considering national student debt alone clocks in at $1.5 trillion… [5]

  • 72 percent of non-prime parents (with credit scores lower than 700) believe college will mean better lives for their children
  • Even though non-prime students are “more likely” to live at home
  • And most of those students (90 percent) will rely on financial aid

Without aid, the study found, non-prime students are “significantly less likely” to reach junior and senior year.

“We often hear a lot about the rising student loan problem,” says Jonathan Walker, the Elevate executive director running the study, who adds non-prime kids have a much tougher decision to make when considering going to college:

  • They’ve already felt the stress of financial struggle
  • And aid is “far more crucial” for them

That hard decision could be why enrollment is down around the country — 2018 enrollment around the U.S. was down 275,000 from 2017, according to education research center National Student Clearinghouse (NSC). [6]

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Americans don’t think college is worth it

Most Americans say apprenticeships are better than colleges at helping people get jobs.

An American Staffing Association survey polled 2,000 Americans about job readiness and found people kicking college pretty hard… [7]

Sixty-eight percent of people say “learning a specific trade is better for finding a job than a bachelor’s degree.” And nearly the same amount (69 percent) say: “college degrees aren’t worth as much as they used to be.”

A majority of Americans (87 percent) thinks it’s smart to consider both college and apprenticeship as options.

“Apprenticeships or earn and learn programs offer great value to job seekers because they get paid while learning a new vocation,” says ASA’s CEO Richard Wahlquist, adding they’re “available across a wide variety of occupations and industries.”

What’s for sure is that there are definitely jobs out there for people without college degrees, and those jobs pay.

Cameren Boatner contributed to this report.

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About the Author

Gideon Grudo

Gideon Grudo

Grudo is a freelance writer, editor, and content strategist based in Brooklyn, NY. Previously he was the digital editor of Air Force Magazine and the managing editor of South Florida Gay News.

Published by Debt.com, LLC