Is the cost of college worth it?

What do Bill Gate of Microsoft, Steve Jobs of Apple Computer, Michael Dell of Dell Computer, Larry Ellison of Oracle and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook have in common?  They all dropped out of college.  College costs are rising fast – faster than the cost of inflation.  So there is a valid question, is the cost of college worth it?  Statistics and studies still show that a college degree usually translates to a higher income.  But in these globally hard economic times having a college degree is no guarantee of higher income.

Based on current estimated cost of tuition, room and board, four years at Harvard University costs $188,860.  The four-year cost for an in-state student at the University of Kansas is $60,236.  Paying for college today, for most students means either they or their family takes loans.  The average student debt after foru years is $22,656.  Yet less than 1 in 5 students in the graduating class of 2009 had a job at graduation.

There are many benefits that come with college attendance.  College students are healthier, vote more often, smoke less, exercise more and according to a Pew study say they are happier.  In addition, according to the Census Bureau, the incomes of people 25 years or older in 2008, who graduated from high school was almost $33,800 while those who attended college salary was $39,700 and those with a bachelors degree, $55,600.

And even in today’s economy, the gap between the earnings of a high school graduate and a college graduate is still growing.