Is College Necessary?

January 29, 2020

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Over the past years, the cost of education has risen significantly, while its true value has decreased. The Federal Reserve has estimated that the nation as a whole owes $1.41 trillion in student loan debt, a 33 percent increase since 2014 when the debt was $1.06 trillion. 

During high school, students a’re often told that if they pursue education, they will make more money. While your long-term gross pay might be higher with a college degree compared to someone with just a high school diploma, your net pay–the money you have left over after deductions are taken from your gross pay–could be much lower, at least for some time, if you have significant student loans that need to be paid off. In other words, you may make more money, but keep less of it.

The average debt for a student who borrows to get through school is $37,172. The average yearly income for a student with an associate’s degree is $41,496. If you decided to pay off those student loans in one year, you’d be left with $4,024, which would be practically impossible to live on. However, paying off a debt sooner than later is actually the smarter choice. The longer you wait to pay off a debt, the more interest it accumulates. 

Student loan debt can be long-term and financially crippling to those who borrow to get their degree. The promise that you will make more money is also put into chance by the fact that job openings are fiercely competitive. Even with today’s low unemployment rate, you may not even get the job you want that could pay off the debt.

Overall, depending on the student, the degree they choose, and economic conditions, college can be a gamble that doesn’t necessarily guarantee you money or the job you want. However, it may just guarantee you tens of thousands of dollars you will have to pay back. 

So what are some alternatives? One option is to try to get scholarship. Scholarships are a grant or payment made toward a student’s education. Scholarships may be offered to high school athletes, academic achievers, or just those who apply for them. The military, certain government programs, such as CyberCorp, and even some companies may provide assistance with student loans in exchange for years of service. One way to see what scholarships are available is the Counseling Office on the main floor of the high school, or by checking their website.

Another option is to consider attending Piedmont Virginia Community College (PVCC) or a technical school. See the Counseling Office to get in touch with the PVCC representative. Or, to learn about opportunities with local apprenticeships, attend the

University of Virginia (UVA) Facilities Management Apprenticeship Job Fair on Feb. 12 from 9:00 am to 11:00 am at Alumni Hall on the UVA campus. 

About the Writer
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John Bernat, Fluco Beat Editor

John is a junior in his second year of Journalism. He likes to write, play video games, and watch movies.

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