COLUMN: Point Counterpoint: With all its expenses, college isn't worth it

Devin Gordon

In a 2020 report, Trends in College Pricing and Student Aid, the College Board reports that a moderate college budget for an in-state student attending a four-year public college in 2020-2021 averages $26,820. Out-of-state students at public colleges average $43,280, and for students attending private colleges, the budget is $54,880.

Colleges use a figure known as "cost of attendance" to estimate the total cost to attend their institution for a single year, not including grants and scholarships. This is often referred to as a college’s “sticker price.”

Need-based aid and scholarships can reduce the total price generally. The price of college includes tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, and transportation and personal expenses.

Tuitions can also vary by major. Science, engineering, pre-med, and the fine arts often pay higher tuitions than students in other majors.

Looking at the cost of education can be overwhelming, to say the least. The direct and indirect costs, and the debt associated with an education, can be downright mind-numbing.

Even with unemployment at a 50-year low, the job market is failing to reach millions of potential workers. Most jobs offered today don’t provide the guarantees that workers once expected. A living wage, affordable health care, good retirement benefits, and work-life balance are becoming harder to find in the modern workplace.

The cost of college has risen almost eight times higher than wages in current years, making it even harder to justify the current costs of education.

Being limited by a job market with such few quality jobs to chose from, and a labor market of fresh graduates competing for those same few jobs, I can’t see the investment of education being worth the years in loans and hardships to it requires to achieve.

Devin Gordon is a Tahlequah business owner.

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