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Only 1 in 4 Americans think you need a college degree to get a high-paying job: report

Kwan Wei Kevin Tan   

Only 1 in 4 Americans think you need a college degree to get a high-paying job: report
  • Most Americans don't think that going to college is worth it these days.
  • Only 1 in 4 adults think you need a degree to get a high-paying job, per the Pew Research Center.

A majority of Americans don't think earning a college degree is a pre-requisite for snagging a high-paying job, according to a Pew Research Center report released on Thursday.

"Only one-in-four US adults say it's extremely or very important to have a four-year college degree in order to get a well-paying job in today's economy," the center wrote in its report, citing a survey it conducted with 5,203 US adults from November to December 2023.

Nearly half of the survey's respondents said having a four-year college degree is less important in getting a high-paying job today than it was 20 years ago.

The US think tank's findings come as an increasing number of American youths are beginning to lose interest in higher education.

Last year, BI and market research firm YouGov surveyed more than 1,800 Americans across five generations.

According to the results, 46% of Gen Z respondents said they didn't think college was worth the cost. Only 39% of those surveyed said they felt it was important for them to advance their education.

The lukewarm reception to higher education should not surprise many, considering how expensive college tuition has gotten.

The burgeoning debts racked up by college graduates have prompted government intervention. Since taking office, President Joe Biden has approved multiple rounds of debt relief to borrowers.

"After the 70-year period in which policymakers and social commentators and community leaders all saying from the hymnal that you've gotta go to college to make it in America, that headline, that kind of postulate, has been overthrown," Harvard Business School professor Joseph Fuller told BI's Ayelet Sheffey in December.


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