That’s the $1.2 trillion question. Much attention has been given recently to the total amount of student debt in America. And while the system isn’t perfect and many issues remain to be worked out, the bottom line is a college education is the best investment you can make for your future.
The disparity in wages between college grads and those with only a high school diploma has never been greater. Students with a college degree earn on average $20,050 more each year than high school graduates; that’s an incredible 61 percent more annually. Over a lifetime, the worth of a college degree amounts to $830,000 more earned than those with only a high school diploma.
It’s not just wages that college grads have over those without a degree. Those with only a high school diploma are three times more likely to be unemployed and four times more likely to live in poverty.
In addition to reporting on total student debt, the news these days is often filled with anecdotal stories of students with loans totaling $75-, $80-, or even $100,000. While these cases exist, they are few and far between. Ninety-eight percent of students borrowed less than $50,000, with 43 percent borrowing nothing at all. In fact, the average amount of student debt is $29,400.
And in Utah, the picture is even brighter. The average Utah student loan debt is $21,520, substantially less than the national average of $29,400. One of the contributing factors to this large difference is that tuition at Utah’s public colleges and universities is the third lowest in the nation.
If you decide to invest in your future and get a degree, live frugally and only borrow what you must; pay your loans off responsibly; and enjoy the benefits of your college education for the rest of your life. After all, it is so worth it.