According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the average annual cost of a college education was $18,497 for the 2010-2011 school year. Multiply that cost by four years, and that equates to the average college student shelling out $73,988 for a bachelor’s degree. This cost can vary widely from public to private schools, with students at private colleges and universities spending over $125,000 on average for a bachelor’s degree, and in some cases, in excess of $200,000, depending upon the institution. And these costs don’t include any additional degrees or professional credentials, which are becoming more and more necessary to distinguish yourself in the increasingly competitive workforce.
Employment prospects upon graduation don’t do much to justify the cost of a degree. Based upon NCES statistics, graduates of the class of 2012 experienced between 13% and 18% unemployment rates, depending upon their age. Statistics on underemployment are more challenging to acquire, but media outlets such as the New York Times reported in 2012 that college grads had a one in two chance of being either underemployed or unemployed upon graduation.
Now with NCES’s latest report nearly 19 million 4-year college graduates expected over from 2010 to 2020, will be disappointed to find only 8.5 million job openings requiring a bachelors degree over the same period, according to the BLS.