Some startling news about the cost of education: The average college graduate in the Class of 2011 will graduate with a whopping $22,900 of student debt.
That’s quite a load. It’s an increase of 8% over last year. It’s up 47% over the past decade. And in a country whose consumers are over-indebted to begin with, it’s a heavy anchor to have to drag behind you at the beginning of your career.
The increase in average student debt, moreover, comes on the heels of news that college students don’t really learn anything and the opinions of pundits like James Altucher that college is just a huge waste of time and money.
So, is college just a waste of time and money? Should today’s teenagers just skip college and the debt load that goes with it?
It’s true that the unemployment rate for those with college degrees is far lower than for the population as a whole, but this doesn’t mean that everyone should go to college. (And it also doesn’t mean that college is the cause of the lower unemployment rate: It may be that the type of people who choose go to college are the type of people who will naturally go on to learn skills that make them more employable). For some folks, Weisenthal says, college is just too expensive to be worth it.
For others, though, the benefits of going to college outweigh the costs, even with the debt load.
The lesson, Weisenthal concludes, is to think before you matriculate–and to be honest with yourself about whether college is really worth it for you.