With the average cost of a private college now exceeding $45,000 and the average cost of a public university close to $25,000, you might wonder if sending your kids to college is still a good investment. Recent research indicates it still is.
First of all, the wage gap between the college-educated and those without a degree has widened. Pew Research Center estimates that the wage gap for millennials is $17,500 per year, wider than for prior generations. Another study estimates this gap can amount to one million dollars over a lifetime. A college degree has become what a high school diploma used to be.
Secondly, there are non-financial reasons to get a college degree. People with a college education are less likely to be living at home, or in poverty, or unemployed. Pew Research Center estimates that only 3.8% of college-educated Millennials are unemployed, as compared to 12.2% of those with only a high school diploma. Only 5.8% are living in poverty vs. 21.8% of the non-college educated. Only 12% are living at home vs. 18%. Furthermore, they are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs and feel they are on a career path. Pew estimates 53% of college-educated Millennials are satisfied with their jobs vs. 37%.
So, despite the hefty price tag, it appears that college continues to represent a worthwhile investment in our children and can benefit parents in other ways, such as reducing the cost of supporting children who fail to launch. In addition to the increase in earning potential, it has a host of other, more qualitative benefits, like career satisfaction, finding a life partner, not to mention raising well-rounded, educated adults.