The average college graduate holds at least $35,200 of debt and has spent four years out of the workforce, where he or she would be otherwise gaining experience. All this for a piece of paper that by no means guarantees a job. The question that potential and current college students need to ask is: Do the financial costs, opportunity costs, and other factors justify the cost of college? For a select few, the answer may be yes. For a surprising number of people, it will be no.
Does the financial cost justify going to college? It depends on what you want to do in life. If you want to go into medicine (average debt of $170,000, average salary$150,000-$200,000+), law (average debt of $100,433 , average salary $113,310), or engineering (average debt of $52,596 , average salary $91,810) the answer will be yes. This is for two reasons. First, today you cannot work in those fields without a college degree. Second, the average income of those professions quickly pays off debt (assuming you can get the job).