(KCPW News) A new national survey produced mixed results about how people feel about a college education and how much it costs. According to the Pew Research Center, 74 percent of college graduates said their college education was useful in helping them grow intellectually, and 55 percent said it was useful in helping them prepare for a job or career. And Holly Braithwaite with the Utah System of Higher Education says one of the key points shows those who graduated from a four year college believe that they are earning about $20,000 more per year as a result of going to college.
“This study does support what’s recognized, that college is important,” she said. “That college is an option for people and that ultimately, the only thing more expensive than college is not going to college.”
But the study also found 57 percent of respondents don’t feel the U.S. higher education system provides good value to students for the amount of money they spend, and 75 percent say it’s too expensive for most Americans to afford.
Braithwaite says the cost shouldn’t prohibit someone from going to be college, there simply needs to be more public dialogue about preparing for college financially, because not going results in more than an earning gap.
“There’s a greater likelihood of unemployment. That also can add to concerns about not having health insurance,” says Braithwaite. “Despite the fact that the perception is that college is very expensive, people do have to notice that it is less here in Utah and that in the long run that can save people a lot of money.”
The Utah System of Higher Education says tuition costs in Utah amount to only 62 percent of the national average. But while Utah taxpayers covered 75 percent of the cost of college in 1999, it’s now only 52 percent.