Nearly half of indebted millennials say college wasn't worth it, and the reason why is obvious
- Nearly half of millennials who have or had student loan debt think college wasn't worthwhile, according to an INSIDER and Morning Consult survey.
- The divide between those who do and don't think college was worth it is clear: Millennials still paying off their student loan debt feel worse about having gone to college than millennials who have already paid off their debt.
- College tuition and student loan debt are higher than ever - the cost of college has made a degree less advantageous over time, one expert said.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
The survey polled 4,400 Americans - 1,207 of them identified as millennials, defined by the survey as people ages 22 to 37 (237 respondents did not select a generation).When asked whether their student loans were worth attending college based on their current financial situation, of those who responded, around 21% said "definitely no" and around 23% said "probably no." Nearly 27% said "definitely yes," while 26% said "probably yes."
Their answers all boil down to student loan debt.
Looking for help with student loan debt? Consider these offers from our partners:
For millennials who said college was definitely or probably worth it, more have previously paid off their student loans entirely (64%) than those who are still paying off student loans (48%). The opposite holds true for the millennials who said college was definitely or probably not worth it - more are still paying off their student loans (49%) than those who previously paid them off (33%).
In short, those who are currently paying off their debt seem to feel worse about their decision to go to college, while those who have already paid off their debt feel better about going to college.It's interesting to note that this is true even if those who are currently paying off their debt have less of it. Of those who answered the question, an equal percentage of millennials who thought college was worth it and millennials who thought college wasn't worth it owe less than $10,000.
Millennials who thought college was worth it have greater debt in the $25,000 to $50,000 range and the $100,000-plus range than those who thought otherwise. Millennials who thought college wasn't worth it have greater debt in the $10,000 to $25,000 range and the $50,000 to $100,000 range than those who disagree.
College tuition and student loan debt are higher than ever
The rising cost of college may help explain its arguably weakening value - college tuition has more than doubled since the 1980s.
One of the reasons driving the price hike is the demand to go to college, Richard Vedder, an author and distinguished professor of economics emeritus at Ohio University, previously told Business Insider: "The rewards for college have expanded and grown from 1985 to a little after 2000 and sort of leveled off in the past decade."
While an increase in students attending college compared to previous years indicates that the advantages college offers outweigh its increasing costs, the survey results show that may not be necessarily true - at least, not for everyone.
In 2017, student loan debt hit a record high of $17,126 per graduate who took out loans, Business Insider reported. As of 2018, the national total of student loan debt was $1.5 trillion, according to Student Loan Hero - and more than 44 million Americans share the burden of carrying it.
The "advantage of a degree today is less than it was 10 years ago, because of the rising cost," Vedder said. "The return on investment has fallen."
Personal Finance Insider offers tools and calculators to help you make smart decisions with your money. We do not give investment advice or encourage you to buy or sell stocks or other financial products. What you decide to do with your money is up to you. If you take action based on one of the recommendations listed in the calculator, we get a small share of the revenue from our commerce partners.