« Death by robot: Robin Henig addresses automation and morality | Main | The most voice to the most people: Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook’s goals »



Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Marlisa Lopez

I disagree with Gillian but I agree with him as well. Although, I might be biased in doing so. I never wanted to further my education after high school. In high school my grades reflected a poor student with no hopes for a grand future. However, I acquired and maintained a good job throughout my senior year of high school. After graduation I became a manager at my building gaining seniority and stability in an ever growing market. Being the second highest paid employee in the building while making a decent gross yearly income, I did not find it necessary to ever go to school to receive higher education. Being well written and well-spoken most people presumed that I had attended college. However, one day I decided I wanted to go to school to see if I was holding myself back or if I was right in not wanting to further my education. Long behold I love attending college and even though I have yet to see a difference in my mental capability, I have acquired a fondness for learning that has never before existed. To sum it up, school may not be for everyone and if you have a way to get into a steady well-paying job then school is absolutely not necessary yet, in another view if one has the time to focus primarily on education then higher education is the way to go. I would recommend that anyone who has the drive and capability to attend college do so because a person can only advance career status and pay rate by attending college. The data of many surveys shows this. School is indeed beneficial on multiple levels. I for one will continue my education, I am going to maintain my current career because I am where I love to be however, I have more passion and drive in completing daily tasks than I did when I started college.

angela yatooma

I agree with Gillian because i know school is important to everyone school is not for every one everyone learns in different ways and speed and sometimes i see people not wanting to go back because its hard and long to get a degree and some cant afford it and have to take care of the family's and what i see going back to college is the the best thing need in my life i see new people i make ok money by nit have a degree but i see now with a degree i can do better in my life make more money and live a better life and learn new things and meet new faces being strong in your judgment, typing, reading, speaking better grammar and being able to be strong and positive.

Zoey Otto

I agree that college pays off for those who find secure jobs in their field of study, but I disagree that this is the turn out for everyone. Those who complete college and get a job in their field benefit from going to college. Going to college benefits you in expanding your knowledge. Even if you do not go past undergrad school, you can still benefit from having those first four years of college. There are also many different areas to study that are not overwhelmed by the amount of people who have degrees in them. Not only that, but whether or not you even finish college, it can be a good experience for someone to develop themselves. However, there are fields of study where there are too many people who have degrees in them. This causes not everyone to end up finding a job in what they studied. Not only that, but college can be very expensive, and if you have trouble finding a job in your field of study, then going to college might not have paid off as well as you hoped.

Priya Pohani

I believe that the college experience is necessary for all students. Economically, it has been proven that going to college is beneficial in the long run, despite the high tuition costs. College graduates earn 83% more and are also less likely to be unemployed than non-graduates, according to the New York feed. Another important economic factor is choosing a lucrative major in college. Graduates who majored in arts, psychology, or social work, had earnings only approximately 29% more than non-graduates but graduates who majored in other highly profitable subjects such as medicine, law, or engineering had earnings 138% higher than high school graduates. Although the costs of tuition have been increasing, the overall long time benefits are definitely greater for college graduates. Carnevale says, “When you add up the premium that college grads benefit from, which can amount to upwards of $10,000 each year, and multiply it by a career that lasts for about 45 years, the cost of a college education is well worth it.” Despite the fact that the cumulative debt of a private four year college is around $31,200, the whole benefits of earning a degree in college are so much more. The long term economic benefits of attending college are extremely promising and that is why I believe that college is necessary for everyone.

Anokhi Patel

Although the costs of tuition have been increasing, I believe that college is the best option for all students because it is proven that college is beneficial in the long run. The article states that "[a] bachelor's degree can help recent graduates earn 83 percent more than peers who only completed high school". This is proof that the majority of college graduate students are better off financially than those that have only finished high school. Furthermore, graduate students that choose majors such as engineering and medicine profit 138 percent higher than high school graduates only. Another considerable economic factor is student debt. The average cumulative debt for a four year student loan for public schools is $25,600, but despite this large number, the value of a college degree is much greater. Once the student has completed school, he or she will earn much more, and can easily pay off debts. These are a few reasons why I believe college is the best option for everyone.

Risham Sidhu

While this article offers some valid points in favor of a college education, the fact remains that higher education and its worth are still debatable. Certainly, workers with college degrees earn more—sometimes significantly more—than their peers. Even without those degrees and simply a college experience, having additional knowledge and being exposed to various ways of thinking is only helpful in the workforce. Especially in the competitive workforce that exists today, a college degree holder has better prospects when searching for employment. Also, while education is important, sometimes hiring does come down to who you know, not what you know. In regards to this, unless a regular high school graduate has family ties, the college graduate will know more people in the workforce who can tell them of job openings or give them recommendations. Furthermore, going to an elite college, while costs may be higher, often provides an intellectually competitive environment where students are not only pushed to be their best but to make those connections for later in life.

However, college tuition can be alarmingly expensive and not economically feasible for many people. In addition, while college degrees offer more job security, a college degree holder with loans and without a job is in an economically worse situation than a worker without those loans. While college is a wonderful asset for some, if the cost cannot be paid it becomes a heavy burden. This burden can cause just as many troubles later in life as a lack of a college degree can. And regardless of economic factors, college is often not practical for certain people: those that happen to be entering a field where a college degree would not hold as much value as experience. With all this in mind, the worth of a college education is highly dependent on an individual, their economic status, their future plans, etc. As Carnevale states, what would be helpful is guidance for possible college students and their parents to properly assess their options and select the correct one based on their situation.

Samantha Hackett

I strongly agree with White's viewpoint. Even though college can put its students into a large amount of debt, college is still a very valuable and powerful tool for success in life. I think college is important because it is proven that college graduates earn a significant amount more money that just high school graduates. Shelling out a large sum of money to gain the expertise and experience that college provides is very much worth it. Many people would argue that college is too expensive and not worth it at all. This is an example of misinformation and misunderstanding. There are scholarships, grants, and financial aid. In addition to those opportunities, there is also community college and in-state school. Going to a college that fits the economic situation of the family is very beneficial.

Some may argue this is not a guarantee in all fields of study. For example, in acting, actors will graduate and attend audition after audition with no callbacks, and thus have to get a job waiting tables or something else unrelated to their degree, and they will have trouble paying off debt. But, this does not make college not worth it. Without a degree, actors could have some trouble finding jobs, but at least they will know they are highly qualified. Without going to college and only having some high school drama experience is not enough. It really comes down to going to a college that fits one's personal and financial needs, and careful planning so that the debt in the end will not be as overwhelming.

Sarah Stephen

Though this article is correct, I think there is still uncertainty with costs and wether its worth a higher education. College is something that you go to after high school, thats what I've always seen it as. Getting a higher education is important, being more knowledgable as well as better employed serves a great purpose. Then again not going to college in my family is frowned upon, in order to have a successful life, college is the right path. Which stands true, going to college may be another long process of school, but it pays off. After college, higher valued jobs can be obtained and you would be a better informed person. Education is important to me because I see a future with it. Getting a stable job, that pays well is important for me as I get older. Though costs can be high, I think going to a good college is important for my future.

Although going to a good college is beneficial in the long run, its not affordable. If someone has the money to fully pay for college then by all means its a great opportunity waiting to be taken. On the other hand, most people don't have thousands of dollars to spend for college, especially being in a family with many siblings. While having a stable job, economically it might not be practical. Personally, my family hopes I get a scholarship because theres no way to pay for me after the rest of my brothers and sisters. Student loans may never be payed off till they get a good job. Financial issues are most common in stopping people from going to college, but with that said, most schools offer scholarships, financial aid, and other ways to make it work. Therefore, while college may be too expensive, having a firm stand in education and going to college is more important. If I really wanted to go to college and pursue a career I would find ways to pay for school, having a good job and being knowledgable in my subject is what really matters for my future in the long run.

Sofia Padron

College is more than a learning experience; it is a financial investment, and for some this investment is not worth the risk. Recently, there has been widespread unemployment among college graduates, rising student loans, and an increase in the cost of college overall. This influences high school graduates to seriously rethink the option of going to college at all. Many have started to believe that there is no point in receiving a college education, because of the financial risk. Even though college has its dangers, I believe it is well worth it. In White’s article “Even With Debt, College Still Pays Off” she proves why college is still an excellent choice. Many agree with her ideas and believe that “the college experience is necessary for all students”. Research proves that “a bachelor's degree can help recent graduates earn 83 percent more than peers who only completed high school.” It has also been proven that the wages of a college graduate are about $1,000 more than an experienced worker aged 35-40 with only a high school education. College graduates receive about $10,000 more than other workers yearly; this multiplied by a 45-year career makes the original financial risk worthwhile. White’s article shows the endless advantages of receiving a college education versus stopping after high school. The real world has turn into an increasingly difficult place to find stable jobs, without college education the chances of unemployment greatly increase. By getting a higher education you take a risky financial investment, but in the end it all pays off later in life.

Carl Dela Cruz

I qualify with Gillian. People are usually more successful when they receive their college degree. They earn higher salaries since they have a higher education. Some people decide to go to a different route to achieve success. With the high tuitions and difficult work, some students choose to start working early with only a high school degree. Some of the most famous people dropped out of school to pursue their dreams. But for most humans, college is the best way to achieve success.

Shengyi Fu

I agree with White's argument. For some, college holds to be a huge financial burden. However, it proves to be a lucrative investment in the long run. It is favorable in human nature to seek more than one already acquires and advance over others in society. One way to achieve success is through gaining wealth with labor.

Modern society is filled with competition. Colleges and graduate schools equip people with a much higher advantage than those who did not attend. On average, unemployment rates decrease more than six percent for those who choose to attend college; thus, chances of poverty and unemployment dramatically decreases with a higher degree. High school graduates may enjoy a stable job with less debt, but they might not find a job at all. Most of those without advanced degrees work unskilled labor that everyone can accomplish with little or no training. College trains unskilled individuals into skilled workers that can better benefit the society.

A recent college graduate easily earns more than a highly experienced high school graduate. With four extra years of school, one can earn double, triple, or even more money than their peers without a college education. Yes, college may be quite costly, but many organizations and schools offer scholarship and the government offers student loans. Furthermore, a student can slowly pay off their college debt over years, which significantly diminishes the pressure on their shoulders. After thirteen years of elementary, middle, and high school, why not go the whole way? One diploma can grant "138 percent higher" wages. Now, that's something to consider.

Kamaria Smith

I feel that college should be for everyone no matter your learning speed, Money, Or color. I feel that some of the material that they have you studying in college is maybe more harder then it needs to be. Plus have the stuff they teacher you 9 times out of 10 you are not going to use it. Then the price tag they put on it is seriously is just too much money. I think if you have the opportunity to go to college please do it's something you will never regret.

Shino Someya

College is an expensive path to take but i think it is worth it. Being accepted into a prestigious college will make yourself, family and friends happy. Also college creates a great experience for students. It it a stepping stone to adulthood and independence. College helps you prepare for the real, tough world that you will tackle on. And having a college graduation will look good on job applications.
It it is very pricey but if someone really wants to succeed in life and work in a successful career, they should take this path. After they graduate, they can work hard to repay the debt. Education is key in a world revolving around money.

Cat Allen

I partially agree with Gillian. Even though it's possible for a college degree to help expand your options, it isn't necessary.Some believe that ONLY education, not common sense will get you further in life. But to be honest, it requires both in order to pursue a successful dream and college doesn't teach common sense; that usually comes after experience. However, according to the statistcs he provided,he kind of exemplified what and where a college degree could get someone, financially. Also, it's not always about WHAT you knwo, sometimes it's more of WHO you know. A college degree doesn't, well it isn't, supposed to define an individual. As Lopez (first comment) was saying, she never wanted to further her education and didn't see the use of college, and without a degree, she became a manager, along with being the second highest paid person at her building. But to fulfill her desires a little more, she decided to go to college and sometimes college is just for fulfillment instead of being thought of as a necesseity.

Tanner Ropp

I agree with Gillian white that, even with the ever increasing student loan debts faced by today's students, a college education is worth the trouble and will pay off in the end. Not only will a college degree make well-paying, interesting jobs more available, but even with the same job as a worker with only a high school diploma, a worker with a degree receives a significant monetary benefit.

In this day and age, especially in the United States, unemployment has become quite an evident issue. For many families, this threatens their financial security. In one day they could lose their job and their entire source of income. In the short term, families with these fears would not think of paying the vast tuition for a modern college education, but this significant investment could secure their career in the future. Worker with degrees are far more desired by employers, especially in the higher paying career fields. Rather than struggling to seek out a stable job with mediocre pay,a degree allows you to choose from a variety of career options that will sustain your lifestyle with money left over to use as you please. Some may say, "even with a stable job, I would have all that student debt from my four or more years of college." The average annual earnings of those with degrees exceeds the debt accumulated by four years of college education, but it also exceeds the average earnings of high school diploma holders by 80%! So even if it may seem like you're digging yourself deeper into debt, within a few years all the debt will be gone and you will be on your way to a successful lifelong career.

Even though degrees make well-paying jobs more accessible and easier to gain employment in, those with only high school diplomas still have the ability to work their way to the same job you have through years and years of working experience. So why go through four years of financially burdening education when you could spend those four years gaining professional experience without all the debt and still get the same job? Premiums. Even with the same job, just the fact that you have a college degree earns you a sizable addition to your salary known as a premium. These premiums amount from $10000 and up! So after many years, a college graduate could have payed off their debt and a non college graduate could have gained the professional experience necessary to get that same job in the same amount of time. Even though both people end up in the same place after the same length of time, the college graduate still automatically earns money, and that is the true financial benefit of getting a college education.

June Cera

I agree with Priya in the view that college is worth the economic debt that comes from school loans and living expenses; although it does matter if college is useful to the student after they finish school. Glillian says "Though the cost of college is increasing, a variety of empirical evidence suggests that the earnings associated with a bachelor's degree still trump the debt that students incur in most cases." I do not believe that different people use a bachelor's degree for similar jobs that earn similar amounts of money. Every single person has a different use of a degree and they uses it in different ways. Some of those ways may be better at paying of the debt that they had fallen into. The economic problems that college causes student, I believe is worth it in some cases but not in others. When a student plans on going on to a well paying job I believe that it would be worth for them to pay large amounts of money to get that education, but if the student plans on going into a field with a lower amount of pay i don't believe it is worth it. Of course there is a line between not worth it and worth it, but I understand it as a different line for every single person. Everyone has to make their own economic choices based on what they enjoy and what they want to achieve in their life.

Hyun-Jun Lee

For past few years, there has been an increase in unemployment rate to college-degree students due to the financial burden; therefore, some students with high school diploma does not want to take the risk of college education. However, I believe that college is the best option for every students. Although there is a huge debt from college education, the education is not only beneficial for learning experience, but also for various opportunities to earn more money than employers with only a high school diploma.
Some people might question why would they take college education if they are going to earn the same job as the employees with high school diploma with debts. The earnings from the premium is the reason why students desire to attend college education. I agree that debts are overwhelming for some people to overcome, but a premium worth more than $10,000 dollars per year, which significantly can reduce the loans and eventually obtains more money than the peers. Also in the "Unemployment Rates by Degree and Experience Level Graph", the graph demonstrates that there is about an eight percent difference between all graduate-degree holders and all high school diploma holders, which may seem like a small number, but it is actually significantly large gap. For example, if about 10,000 people lose a job per week, there are about 800 more high school diploma holders who lost their jobs than the graduate-degree holders; and the number would increase by 800 per week, which is a great threat to the high school diploma holders.

Patrick R.

As widespread unemployment and ever-rising student debt plague college graduates today, many are beginning to question the value of a college education. In her article "Even With Debt, College Still Pays Off," in The Atlantic Magazine, Gillian White makes her case in favor of a higher education. I strongly agree with her favorable view of college education as college graduates earn significantly more than their lesser educated peers, and are far less likely to end up unemployed in the long-term.

Although the price of a college education is increasing, vast evidence shows that the earnings of college graduates with bachelor's degrees more than compensates for student loan debt incurred. In fact, data from the New York Fed shows that college graduates earn roughly 80 percent more than their lesser educated peers who either didn't attend or finish undergrad in college. Additionally, further evidence suggests that recent college graduates ages 22 to 26 earn roughly 83% more than those with just a high school diploma. The majors and careers chosen by college students play a major role in the long-term return that college has to offer. Liberal arts majors like the arts, psychology, and social work generate earnings 29% higher on average than high school graduates, while more lucrative fields of study like engineering and medicine result in a whopping 138% higher earnings. Unemployment is a major issue that plagues our nation's economy. Those without college degrees are finding that it is much harder to find a stable, well-paying job. Companies and businesses look for individuals with experience and education, and those with merely a high school education often don't make the cut. A college degree provides a sense of job security that cannot be found in those with just a high school degree. Researchers from Georgetown found that the earnings that college and advanced degree holders enjoy has remained relatively stable throughout the U.S. recession. Anthony P. Carnevale argues that the long-term benefits of a college education are well worth it, and in my opinion, this could not be more true.

Cheyenne Acker

Even with the increasing financial burden of college, it is worth the price. College graduates earn, on average, 80% more than their peers who did not pursue higher education. An experienced graduate degree holder can expect to earn, on average, $83,000 annually. On the other hand, a high school graduate might only earn, on average, $25,000 annually. This drastic gap is also seen in unemployment rates. Unemployment rates drop from 11.8% with all high school diploma holders to 3.3% with all graduate degree holders. This 8.5% decrease shows the overwhelming impact of education on financial security. The initial economic burden of a college education creates a more secure lifestyle later on.

Tej Patel

Even though college may put you in debt, I believe that its worth the trouble. College gives you an never before seen experience. Not to forget the fact that college graduates earn more than drop-outs. They also have a better chance of pursuing a job. According to a study, recent college grads aged 22 to 26 have earnings that are 83 percent higher than those who have only a high-school diploma. The opposing side may argue that some of the world's greatest minds such as Bill Gates never attended college and still managed to become a highly respected man in society. But, the truth is that not every one in society is capable of achieving such things. Of course money can't buy you happiness, but it can allow you to pursue the American dream.
As for jobs, college graduates have a tendency to get hired quicker than those who are high school graduates. So maybe the debt may be overwhelming, but if you go to college and land a good job then that debt could be paid in no time. The American dream for the most part is to get a good job and live happily. In most cases this can be easily achieved through college level education. Education is needed for today's generation to take us to greater heights and in order to achieve that they must put small worries such as debt behind. In doing so they create a brighter future filled with happiness for themselves. That being said, I do believe that students should worry less about debt and pursue a higher level of education.

Jonathan Minor

I believe that whether or not college is worth it depends on the person. Someone who is interested in a field that requires a college education (doctor, lawyer, teacher, etc.) probably should attend college in order to achieve what they want to achieve. But someone who is interested in a field that may not need a college education (musician, comedian, professional gamer, etc.) should consider their options before attending college. But something to think about is the differences in the hiring rates between college graduates and non-college graduates. Individuals who attend college are much more likely to be hired than someone who has not attended college but applies for the same job or position.

aia amoguis

College is a major decision in ones life. Some might argue that in the current economy, college might not be a good option. In my opinion College should always be the priority.Evidence proves that people who go to college make a usual and significant more amount of money than those who do not. College gives skills to the students that will allow for a good job with a good salary. Without college, the student may lack skills deemed necessary for a job with good salary. Even with debt college is a Good choice, once college is over and you score a god job the money will arrive to pay for the debts. All in all college is a good decision for everyone.


While I agree on White's points the value of college education in employment and social mobility, I do not agree that college is always something that "pays off" in most cases.
In most cases, college is the best way to gain a higher education in one's field and a gateway to much more opportunities available to those who are qualified with a bachelor's degree or higher. Many companies and businesses are looking to hire employees experienced in their work, with years of learning and studying at a collegiate institution. In some cases, the massive student loans may even be paid off by the benefits of higher learning, which includes larger employment rates, higher salary, and improved social mobility.
However, I do not take White's argument that college pays off in most cases. As several readers who composed comments below pointed out, the data White cites contain some errors, a few of which are glaring. The data White provides distinguishes between neither major nor institute. An art bachelors from a community college lumped together with bachelor's degree surgeon students attending Princeton under "college students" renders the data very ambiguous in virtue and perhaps even inaccurate. Furthermore, the numbers possibly lead into false conclusions that fail to represent the college student and graduate population of America.

Margaret Parker

I absolutely think that college is a valuable tool, but not one that everyone needs to use. Our society places far too much emphasis on intellectual/white-collar careers, and dismiss more trade-oriented work as unintelligent. This ideology ignores the fact that human society rides entirely on the back of skilled professionals in the construction, maintenance, and industrial fields. For these individuals, a technical or trade school education is far superior to a college one. A career as an inventor, writer, or CEO is subject to the shifting winds of the economy, as well as public taste and culture, but the oft-touted maxim of technical education still rings true: there's always work for mechanics. While college is necessary for those who pursue an intellectual path, the technical or manual laborer doesn't need to go through that level of study- and that's a good thing. This option allows people who have learning disabilities, test poorly, or generally fail to perform in a school environment to circumvent those experiences, and not suffer through 2-4 years of humiliation and poor self-esteem because they don't think like everyone else does.

Emilee LeMaire

Today’s society is filled with competition. Colleges and graduate schools allow people to have a higher advantage than those who do not attend. On average, unemployment rates decrease more than six percent for those who choose to attend college; therefore, chances of unemployment dramatically decrease when you have a higher degree. High school graduates might be able enjoy a stable job with less debt, but it is possible that they might not find a job at all. Most people who lack an advanced degree work unskilled jobs that most people can accomplish with little or no training. Colleges can train you on a specific skill, so you can apply that skill to the real world and better the society.

Even though college is an expensive path to take, I think I is well worth it. Even with increasing student loan debts, in the end, a college education will be worth it. A college education can open the door for so many well-paying and interesting jobs that most likely would not be available with just a high school diploma. I do believe that if you get a high paying job, than all that money that you paid for college will be worth it, and it will pay off. But, with this in mind, it is different for everyone. Everyone has their own economic choices they need to make based on their economic status and what field they want to go into.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

About They Say / I Blog

  • New readings posted monthly, on the same issues that are covered in “They Say / I Say” with Readings—and with a space where readers can comment, and join the conversation.

Follow us on Twitter to get updates about new posts and more! @NortonWrite

Become a Fan