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Is College Worth the Cost? For Now, It Seems It Is

Big Data Download

The cost of a college degree is expensive and getting pricier all the time – but is it more costly in the end to not get a degree? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the short answer is yes.

The jobless rate is higher for people with less education. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that 12 percent of people with less than a high school diploma are unemployed, while the same is true for 7.8 percent of high school graduates. Among those with an associates degree, 7.4 percent are unemployed, while 3.7 percent of people with a bachelor’s degree or higher don’t have a job.

Still, college enrollments are on the decline. According to National Student Clearinghouse, which tracks enrollment and degree information, enrollments fell 2.3 percent in the spring 2013 from spring 2012. Enrollments at four-year, for-profit colleges fell even further, dropping 8.7 percent in spring 2013 versus spring 2012.

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Dr. Donald Hossler, first executive director of National Student Clearinghouse, said there is little correlation between rising tuition costs and falling enrollments. He says it’s more of a demographic issue.

“Declines in enrollment during this time period have been predicted for several years simply because birth rates declined about 17 years ago,” he said, “so the number of high school graduates is declining and will continue to decline for the next five years.”

“A large number of recent High School graduates are going to be coming from first-generation Latino families that we know are a little bit less likely to go to college and are more cost sensitive,” Hossler told “Big Data Download.”

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At the same time, making the enrollment picture a little murkier is the Dream Act. The Dream Act is a legislative proposal that would make a fair number of undocumented students eligible for federal financial aid.

Hossler thinks enrollments will be stable, which will be good for the economy. He said there’s been high demand for less than two-year certificates in technical and healthcare related areas.

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