Tags: college | degree | job | value | cost | pew | research

Pew: 40% Say College Degree Isn't Key to a Good Job

Pew: 40% Say College Degree Isn't Key to a Good Job
(Dreamstime)

By    |   Friday, 24 May 2024 10:07 AM EDT

Forty percent of Americans say having a four-year degree is not that important for getting a well-paying job, a survey from Pew Research Center finds.

Compared to 20 years ago, 49% say it is less important today than it was in the past for a person with a college degree to land a good job.

Close to 30% think a college degree just isn’t worth it.

Soaring Tuition

The report comes at a time when some elite colleges are charging $90,000 a year and the cost of college continues to rise; student loan payments have resumed for millions of Americans; and recent college grads spent most of their college years learning virtually during the pandemic.

As well, pro-Palestinian protests on college campuses throughout America this spring have disrupted classes and many graduation ceremonies, putting free speech to the test.

Amid this turmoil and rising costs, students and their parents face increasingly difficult decisions about the value of higher education, even though studies have repeatedly shown that people with college degrees earn more than those with just a high school diploma.

The typical earnings for bachelor’s degree holders are $40,500 or 86% higher than those whose highest degree is a high school diploma, according to the Association of Public & Land-Grant Universities. College graduates on average make $1.2 million more over their lifetime.

The Pew survey found only 25% think it’s extremely or very important to have a college degree.

As for whether the cost of college is worth it, 47% say yes — but only if the graduate doesn’t have to take out student loans.

This drops to a mere 22% if a student has to take out loans; 29% say college isn’t worth the cost, however it is paid for.

Party Lines

The division between those who are pro- and those who are reticent about college becomes more pronounced by political party, with 50% of Republicans saying a degree is not that important to land a well-paying job. Only 30% of Democrats share this opinion.

Fifty-seven percent of Republicans say having a degree is less important than it was 20 years ago; 43% of Democrats say the same.

College graduates are more likely (30%) than those with less education (22%) to think a college degree is extremely or very important.

However, compared to 20 years ago, 51% of college graduates and 48% of those with less education say it’s less important for someone today to have a college degree than it was in the past.

Young adults are more likely that their elders to hold out hope for the value of a college education, with 44% of those between 18 and 49 believing in the value of a college education as being an important hiring and career factor in the labor market. That drops to just 29% of those 30 to 49 and 30% among those 50 and older.

Methodology

Nonpartisan Pew Research Center surveyed 5,203 U.S. adults between Nov. 27 and Dec. 3, 2023 online, randomly selecting participants through residential addresses. Pew weighted the survey to be representative of the U.S. population by gender, race, ethnicity, partisan affiliation and education.

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StreetTalk
Forty percent of Americans say having a four-year degree is not that important for getting a well-paying job, a survey from Pew Research Center finds.
college, degree, job, value, cost, pew, research
523
2024-07-24
Friday, 24 May 2024 10:07 AM
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