Kaler on the question of whether getting a college degree is 'worth it'

  • January 15, 2012 - 7:53 PM


I think that is an unhealthy and unrealistic conversation. The United States faces great challenges, and I know of no challenge that is served by having less educated people work on it.

We need to continue to grow the number of people pursuing post-secondary education. Surveys show that 70, 80 percent of jobs in the future will require it. So if you decide, "I'm not going to pursue that," then you're telling yourself, "OK, I'm only going to be able to compete for 20 percent of the jobs out there."

That's incredibly unwise.

The challenge now is sometimes framed in terms of, "I'm graduating from college, and I have debt." The average debt from the University of Minnesota is about $27,000. And if you're in that situation, and you have a job, your mindset about that debt is very different than if you emerge from college in debt and with no job prospects.

So I think the conversation is not so much about, "Should I get this degree or not?" as it is about the opportunity to have a job and a career after getting that degree. That, then, is a larger economic problem.


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