First of all, college students make more money than people that only have a college degree. In 2016, the average income for people 25 years old and older with a high school diploma was $35,615, while the income for those with a bachelor’s degree was $65,482, and $92,525 for those with advanced degrees.The median income for families headed by a bachelor’s degree holder was $100,096 in 2011—more than double than that for a family headed by a high school graduate. The median increase in earnings for completing the freshman year of college was 11% and the senior year was 16% in 2007. 85% of Forbes’ 2012 America’s 400 Richest People list were college grads.
Also, because college have better college opportunities. 85.2% of college freshman in 2015 said they attended college to “be able to get a better job.” In Jan. 2017, the unemployment rate for college graduates aged 25 and over with a bachelor’s degree was 2.5%, compared to 3.8% for those with some college or associate’s degrees, 5.3% for high school graduates, and 7.7% for high school drop-outs.In 2015, 6.2% of college graduates were underemployed (insufficient work), compared to 12.9% of high school-only graduates and 18.7% of people without a high school diploma.College graduates are more likely to receive on-the-job formal (22.9%) or informal (17.2%) training, more access to technology, greater autonomy, and ability to enhance skills compared to high school graduates. 58% of college graduates and people with some college or associate’s degrees reported being “very satisfied” with their jobs compared to 50% of high school graduates and 40% of people without a high school diploma.
Lastly, college graduates have a lower poverty rate. The 2008 poverty rate for bachelor’s degree holders was 4%, compared to a 12% poverty rate for high school graduates. In 2005, married couples with bachelor’s degrees were least likely to be below the poverty line (1.8%) compared to 2.7% of associate’s degree holders, 4.6% of couples with some college, and 7.1% of high school graduates. According to the US Census Bureau, 1% of college graduates participated in social support programs like Medicaid, National School Lunch Program, and food stamps compared to 8% of high school graduates in 2008.
Counterclaim: The student loans are high for college graduates. As of June 2016, about 42 million Americans owe $1.3 trillion in student debt, and 45% of people with student loan debt said college was not worth it. 10% of students graduate with over $40,000 in debt and about 1% have $100,000 in debt. The average student borrower graduated in 2014 with $28,950 in debt. In June 2016, undergraduate college graduates had an average of $37,173 in loan debt. According to the US Congress Joint Economic Committee, approximately 60% of 2011 college graduates have student loan debt balances equal to 60% of their annual income. Missing or being late for loan payments often results in a lower credit score and additional fees, thus escalating the debt problem and potentially jeopardizing future purchases and employment. As of Dec. 31, 2016, about 8 million people who owed $137 billion in student loan debt were in default (meaning no payment had been made in at least 270 days).
If you go to college you might be able to find a job that can pay off that debt.