Is College Still Worth It? - Cost of Higher Education2018-04-19
Recently interviewed about the cost of higher education, Southern Utah University President Scott L Wyatt had three key points in favor of education beyond the high school level. A college education provides more job opportunities, a quick return on investment, and a longer, healthier life.
Starting in 2008 and looking through the recession to now, there has been a loss of jobs for high school graduates, however, college graduates are seeing more opportunities.
According to President Wyatt, “there are five and a half million fewer jobs available for those who have a high school diploma or less. But if you look at those that have a bachelor's degree or higher, there has been an increase of 8.6 million jobs. There actually wasn't a loss of jobs during the recession for college graduates.”
Comparing a high school graduate to a college graduate, President Wyatt looks at the length of time it takes the college graduate to catch up financially after accruing debt over the four years not in the workplace.
“Seven years is all it takes for it to be a positive return on investment. That's not very long. We're gonna work for a long, long time. Now, if you go to a very expensive private school and, depending on your major and depending on where you choose to go work it will take longer to get that return investment, but remember, the average [income] is a million dollars more over a lifetime. And so even if you have to borrow $50,000 or $100,000, you're gonna make that back.”
Not only is a college education financially beneficial, there are many non-economic returns on investment.
“What we find is that those who graduate from college live five years longer than those who didn't finish high school. Four years to go to college and you get five years out of it. And it's not just living longer, it's living healthier.”
“We also find that those that graduate from college are more likely to do service in their community, less likely to need state assistance, less likely to be unemployed…if there's a recession or downturn in the economy, there are more options to those with a college degree.”
Scott L Wyatt is Southern Utah University’s 16th president. During his time here, SUU has led Utah’s universities in enrollment growth, opened a new veterans center, started a center for diversity and inclusion, and seen the construction or acquisition of more than $60 million of capital improvement. He is familiar with the media and available for an interview.