Gen Zers Skeptical of College Education Value, 46% Deem It Not Worth the Cost

United States North America Higher Education News Statistics by Erudera News Dec 27, 2023

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Many individuals belonging to Generation Z don’t see any value in making investment in college education, a new survey has revealed.

According to survey from YouGov, a global public opinion and data company, in collaboration with Business Insider, only 39 percent of Gen Zers prioritize advancing their education, while 46 percent believe college is not worth the cost, Erudera.com reports.

Over 1,800 Americans across five generations participated in the study, with Generation Z making up a significant share of over 600 respondents.

“It was just always something that was part of the plan. My parents went to college, so did my brother, all my extended family went, it was just completely normal to me. And it wasn’t really until I got to college that I realized it wasn’t what I wanted to do,” Sadie Shaw, 22, told Business Insider.

Most of the student loan debt in the United States is made up of federal student loans, exceeding $1.6 trillion. As of November 1, 2023, this amount of debt is owed by nearly 44 million borrowers, according to Federal Student Aid.

Another research by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis - Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking found that some of the Gen Zers were less likely to expect that investing in college would pay off in the future.

“Some Gen Zers were less likely to expect that the investment would pay off, including those who went to college but didn’t graduate, women, and Black and Hispanic Gen Zers. In these groups, less than half believed the lifetime financial benefits of college would outweigh the costs,” Ana Hernández Kent, a senior researcher at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, said in a blog post.

The belief that college would not pay off was shared by more than half of Gen Zers currently in college, 60 percent of those in a Bachelor’s program or other, and nearly 40 percent pursuing an associate degree or certificate.

As per gender, more men than women were skeptical about the benefits of college. The study found that nearly 20 percent of respondents who said they don't believe higher education is an investment that will pay off, had dropped out of college.

Moreover, when it comes to ethnicity, most of the students who didn't think that college will pay off are Asian, followed by Black and Hispanic.

Hernández Kent noted that younger generations may have more negative perceptions of the financial benefits of college, adding that 2022 survey results were not that different from those collected from the 2013 survey involving younger millennials.

Related:

>> 92% of Gen Z Students Worried They Can’t Pay for College, Some Plan to Rely on Their Parents

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