Bri Greyling, Campus Carrier Copy Editor

As tuition increases at a crippling rate across the country, questions about the value of a bachelor’s degree arise. With the cost of tuition in mind, what exactly am I getting for all this money? A piece of paper at graduation and student loans?

In the United States alone, there are more than 44 million students that owe a total of $1.5 trillion in student loan debt, according to Forbes. The average student in 2016 left college with $37,172 in student loans.

California, Florida, Texas and New York uphold more than 20 percent of all students with college debt. Georgia ranks at number five with a balance of $54 billion dollars of debt from 1.5 million students, according to Forbes.

Although these statistics may be overwhelming, tackling student debt successfully is possible. Berry graduates get a grace period of six months after graduation before paying student loans. The key is to understand your loans and continue to live a college lifestyle for a few years. Stick to a manageable budget that will tackle the debt and allow your credit to increase.

The privileges of a college education are clearer for students who come from families with privileged backgrounds in education. But for students of less privileged families, the advantage for college graduates can be unclear.

While the costs are high for college, the benefits of graduating with a bachelor’s degree are higher. The benefits include an increased salary potential, lower risk of unemployment, increased job expectations, career satisfaction and investments for the future.

The average income for individuals with a bachelor’s degree at 25-years-old is $65,482, while individuals with a high school diploma received $35,614, according to the U.S. Census Bureau in 2015. That is almost double the salary per year, not considering potential bonuses and advancements in a career.

According to a Georgetown University study that evaluated the economic value of college majors, college graduates have $1 million more in earnings than high school graduates in a lifetime. There is also a $3.4 million difference in earnings between the highest-and-lowest paying college majors.

Health insurance and retirement plans are more likely to be obtained by undergraduates. College graduates are more likely to have children that are healthier and more prepared for school.

High school students need to know the job market, salary outcomes and programs available for college education that will prepare them for the future.

In moments of scholastic stress, I am encouraged that one day I will look back and all of the hard work will have paid off.

Posted by Campus Carrier

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