What is a College Degree Even Worth?

What is a College Degree Even Worth?

*This is one of several commercials aiming to address college dropouts.

Are we a growing nation of highly educated working individuals? Tennessee, Mississippi, Kentucky, and other states think otherwise, according to a piece from the Wall Street Journal.  College students dropping out is an increasingly problematic issue in states that want and expect to build a vast population of college-educated workers. It’s frustrating to know that many of the college dropouts only have a few credits away from graduation. Which begs the question – Why don’t  finish the whole damn thing? Recently, a block of states have decided to create specific, targeted programs (e.g., “Complete 2 Compete”), broadcast T.V. commercials, and make billboard ads practically begging for college dropouts to come back to school. What if they can’t finish yet again? And what’s more, college dropouts contribute to $30 billion burden in taxes. What a waste of money.

Going back to school can be a HUGE sacrifice, and it’s even more difficult when you have to juggle between work and family life. So, how much time are you really going to put into finishing your degree – especially if you make a sufficient amount of livable income? There have been success stories of former college dropouts finishing college, but this is often in cases where their employer pays for their education and have a promised promotion waiting for them. I think it’s absolutely great to finish your degree, so you can have a promotion guaranteed, but if you graduate and do not have a big promotion or raise waiting for you, I say forget it and suggest keeping your current position. Nowadays, people who graduated with a traditional 4-year degree, on average, have a rate of $10/hr in their starting job of their chosen field. It’s minimum wage pay, which may be okay.

So, how much time are you really going to put into finishing your degree – especially if you make a sufficient amount of livable income?

Meanwhile, people who graduated high school with trade experience would have a starting rate of $22/hr. That’s DOUBLE! So you may ask yourself, Is a college degree even worth it? We live in a society that apparently values trade knowledge (i.e. mechanics, culinary, etc.) more than a traditional 4-year education, yet most jobs require a bachelor’s degree or higher. Confusing, isn’t it? Nevertheless, this is how society works. But really, it all comes down to your personal choice in whether to continue college or not. Ask yourself, Why are you getting a degree? Remember, it is not about what others (or even federal government) want you to be. It’s ultimately your life choice.


(Illustration by Elle Ko)


About Jessica Lau

Hi, my name is Jessica Lau! I graduated from California State University, Fullerton (CSUF) with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications with honors. During my time at CSUF, I was a reporter and editor at Titan Communications and studied abroad in Italy to produce and edit a feature-length newscast, World Press Italy. Also, I was a freelancer for the campus newspaper, The Daily Titan, where I wrote and produced editorials about campus events. After graduation, I interned for the County of Orange, where I worked as a cinematographer and editor for their local commercials and promotional videos about hazardous waste disposals. I am excited to work for High Faluter to shed light on today's pressing issues that young people care about! I am currently working on blogging topics of interest, including gender and environmental issues. In my spare time, I love to dance, sing, and write creatively.