Blood, sweat, tears and a whole lot of cash is what higher education calls for, but is the degree worth it?
With the cost of education rising and the employment rate for college graduates decreasing, students could question the value of a degree. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in 2009 for workers with college degrees was 4.6 percent. However, the unemployment rate for those without a degree was nearly 10 percent higher.
Ben Zufelt, a senior communication major from St. George, enrolled at Dixie State University to obtain a bachelor’s degree after losing his construction job.
“I don’t think work experience is enough,” Zufelt said. ”You have to show you took the time to get an education. It shows you’re determined and dedicated to something.”
The average amount of student loan debt for the class of 2011 was $26,600, according to American Student Assistance. Mike Olson, director of academic advisement, said the price is worth it.
“I really think a degree is worth the cost,” Olson said. “You’re paying tuition for four or five years, but you’re being paid at a higher rate for 40 or more years.”
According to howtoedu.org, a person with a bachelor’s degree will earn nearly $1 million more over the course of 40 years than a person with a high school diploma.
Students obtain degrees for multiple reasons, and they’re not always money motivated. Olson said some students get their degree for self-fulfillment or to set an example to their children.
“The worth of a degree could be monetary, it could be financial, but I think, in a lot of ways, hanging a degree on a wall and looking at it is a constant reminder of past success,” Olson said.
A degree is worth every penny and the things you can gain from higher education are invaluable, Olson said.
“I think it can do a lot for someone who down the road may be struggling,” Olson said. “To look back at your degree and think, ‘At one point in my life I was able to overcome a lot of obstacles and obtain something I really wanted.’”
Lana Lichfield, a sophomore communication major from Hurricane, is pursuing her degree for reasons other than simply making more money.
“I want to learn and get an education,” Lichfield said. “I think a degree says a lot about you. I think it says you can jump through hoops and broaden your mindset.”
Academic Adviser Landen Peterson was raised by a farmer in a small town and was always told to get a degree but wasn’t told why. Now Peterson has completed his bachelor’s degree and is working toward his master’s degree. He now understands why he was told to go to college.
“There are a lot of things that I can do that I didn’t know I could do,” Peterson said. “Education helps you see all the doors you have open and all the opportunities available, and it makes it so you get a gauge of what you’re capable of.”