For almost 10 years, I've been teaching journalism at various college campuses on O'ahu.
And every semester students worry about the same things: jobs, career paths, paychecks. They want to know how much entry-level journalists make — and what their earning potential is. They want to know what majors they should consider if they want to actually get a job. They want to know whether majoring in English is career suicide.
The other day one of my former students posed a question that's been on my mind lately: how much is our college education really worth?
For example, I have a master's degree — for which I took out a major student loan. But I wound up working in a newsroom with reporters who only had bachelor's degrees — and getting paid the same. So my advanced degree didn't matter much.
And at Kapi'olani Community College, where I teach full time, some students are questioning the value of the associate of arts degree. Even bachelor's degrees seem to have lost their luster.
College isn't that affordable. According to CollegeBoard.com, most students and their families can expect to pay, on average, from $172 to $1,096 more than last year for this year's tuition and fees, depending on the type of college. Some colleges charge upwards of $35,000 a year in tuition and fees.
In California, the state government, in an attempt to balance its budget, is raising fees at its state universities. Last year, the UC regents approved a 32 percent fee increase for incoming freshman. And tuition will be more than $10,000 a year for residents.
A full-time resident undergraduate student at the University of Hawai'i-Manoa pays $3,792 per semester; that will jump to $4,200 in the fall. (Non-residents will pay $11,616 a semester, up from $9,408.)
The high cost of college is making it harder for people to get that much-valued degree, even despite more scholarship and financial aid funding available.
But does a bachelor's degree really matter anymore?
What do you think?
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