According to Goldman Sachs, a college degree might not be all it’s cracked up to be. In fact, attending a university that ranks in the bottom 25% of all universities nationwide can result in earnings that are even less on average than standard high school graduates. Across the board, the financial return on going to colleges is continuing to decline.
In 2010, the average college student was required to work eight years to break even on their bachelor’s degree investment. By 2030, this is expected to increase to 11 years. And by 2050, it will take about 15 years on average to make up for an expensive college degree. At that rate, college graduates will work until age 37 to get to a point where earning a Bachelor’s was worth it.
Overall, the time to payback a college degree varies by major, as well as the college that is attended. Meanwhile, American businesses have been complaining that there aren’t enough “skilled workers”, even though students are graduating from college in record numbers.
While it’s difficult to discredit a diploma from an institution like Yale or MIT, Goldman believes that students at lower-tier schools might be better off doing other kinds of training to have better, and less expensive, prospects at landing a job.
For students who attend top universities majoring in programs such as business, healthcare and technology, their prospects of getting a great return on their investment are outstanding. But for those who major in arts, education and psychology, their prospects are not so hot. In fact, for these students, college might not even be worth it in the long run.
However, there’s the argument that college isn’t just about landing a degree and a high-paying job. Many people cite college as a time to make friends, experience personal growth and have memorable experiences. Still, it’s an awfully large sum of money to shell out for these largely secondary benefits.
Goldman is now saying that something will have to give. With in-state public universities costing nearly $20,000 per year, student debt now being over $1 trillion nationwide and many college graduates not being able to find jobs, it might not be long before many people start eschewing college altogether.
Instead, young people will receive other forms of training and certifications that can be obtained more cheaply online. These programs can be tailored so that they fit the needs of jobs rather than just teach a broad array of subjects.
Time will tell if college will soon becomes a thing of the past.