Many Millennials Regret Going to College
Jim Liebelt Jim Liebelt's Blog
- 2016 Aug 17
*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on Forbes.
They may be the most educated generation in history, but if there’s one thing millennials regret, it’s going to college.
More than a third of 18- to 35-year-olds say they wish they had not gone to university, according to a new survey, while almost half say they would have got to where they are now without a degree.
The findings come as levels of graduate debt soar to record high and parents are increasingly having to shoulder the burden of their child’s university career.
The survey found that 37% of former students regretted going to college given the amount of debt they now have.
With tuition fees and living costs inexorably rising, this year’s U.S. college seniors graduated with an average debt of $37,172, while for their U.K. counterparts the picture is even bleaker, with debts in excess of $65,000.
Regret is as likely to hit older millennials (38%), those aged 25-35, as those in the 18-24 age bracket (37%), despite having had longer to experience the benefit of having a degree, according to the survey of 1,073 U.K. millennials carried out for FTSE100 insurance giant Aviva.
The study also found that 49% of millennials believed they would have reached the same level in terms of career progression had they not gone to college.
The increase in the number of graduates in recent years has outpaced the rise in graduate jobs, leading many to question the value of going to university. Research has shown a steep increase in the proportion of graduates working in non-graduate jobs, from 37% in 2001 to 47% in 2013.
Earlier this year, Sir Peter Lampl, chairman of the U.K.’s Sutton Trust, which aims to improve social mobility through education, said the debt students incur in going to university should lead many to seriously consider other options.
The survey found that millennials estimate it will take them 11 years to pay off their student debt, although it also found that they have little faith that their salary alone would get them there.
Almost two thirds (63%) said they were relying on a one-off event, such as winning the lottery or an inheritance, to ease their money worries, with this hope surprisingly more common among graduates (72%) than non-graduates (48%), perhaps reflecting the greater levels of debt among the former.
Another survey has provided evidence that parents are increasingly taking on the financial burden to make sure their child can attend university.
Almost three in 10 parents (29%) whose children have been to university said they had to sacrifice other spending to support them.