Report: college is still a good investment

Jun 4, 2013 by

A college degree remains a good investment even as the amount of debt California students take on has increased sharply, a nonprofit group that analyzes public policy concluded in a report released Monday.

Between 2000 and 2010, the number of freshmen statewide who borrowed money for higher education rose from less than one-third to nearly half, according to the Public Policy Institute of California. The average loan amount increased by 36 percent between 2005 and 2010, a jump that coincided with dramatic tuition hikes in the University of California and California State University systems.

Meanwhile, the number of students who enrolled in private for-profit institutions, which tend to be more expensive than public colleges, grew at least twice as fast as all other colleges combined. About 14 percent of California’s freshmen attended the for-profit schools in 2010, the new report said.

“There’s this big question out there: Is college still worth it?” said Hans Johnson, a senior fellow with the institute and lead author of the study. “And the reason people ask that question is that tuition and fee levels have gone up a lot in California as the state has cut funding to UC and CSU. And at the same time, the labor market, which is rebounding slowly from the recession, is still weak.”

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