Graduation 2016

Is College Worth It?

Are you wondering if a college degree is worth it? A college degree might be the smartest investment you’ll ever make. In fact, college graduates earn about $1 million more over their lifetime than high school graduates, according to a study released by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

Why a College Degree is a Smart Investment

Aside from higher lifetime earnings than non-college graduates, college graduates have lower unemployment rates.

College can be a big expense, but there options available to help families finance it. Available aid includes scholarships, grants, federal financial aid and loans.

Yes, loans.

College loans get a bad rap, but if you borrow smart and take your education seriously, it can be the most important investment you ever make.

Still not convinced? Here’s some food for thought:

When you take out a loan to purchase a new car, the value of that car drops by about 51% over four years, according to Edmunds.  And, people typically replace their cars every 6-7 years. So…you get the idea.  A one-time investment in a four-year college degree, on the other hand, will serve you well for the rest of your life, and your return on investment increases, not decreases, over time.

Current Student Loan Rates

Loan Type Rate (Disbursed after 7/1/16)
Direct Subsidized Loans 3.76%
Direct Unsubsidized Loans 3.76%
Direct PLUS Loans for Parents and Graduate or Professional Students 6.31%
Direct Unsubsidized Loans for Graduate or Professional Students 5.31%

Something important to remember about student loans is that you won’t need to start repaying them until after you graduate or leave college. Even then, you have some options regarding your method of repayment. Since 2010, the Income-Based Repayment plan has allowed graduates to readjust their monthly federal student loan payments based on their income and family size. The Pay As You Earn plan reduces the cap to 10 percent on a graduate’s monthly income.

Benefits of Having a College Degree

We’ve already told you that college graduates earn significantly more over their lifetime than high school graduates. But how does that break down each year? According to The College Board’s Education Pays 2013 report, bachelor’s degree holders in 2011 earned $21,100 more per year than high school graduates.

Beyond that, the unemployment rate for college graduates in 2012 was 7.1 percentage points lower than that for high school graduates, according to The College Board.

We know what you’re thinking: You want to go to college, but you can get a job making good money RIGHT NOW. And you probably can. But the median four-year college graduate who enrolls at age 18 and graduates in four years can expect to earn enough by age 36 to compensate for being out of the labor force for four years and borrowing the cull tuition and fee amount without any grant aid, according to The College Board.

But, at Gwynedd Mercy University, 100% of first-time, full-time freshmen received some sort of financial aid in 2015-2016, so the chances of paying full tuition and fees here as a full-time freshman is pretty unlikely.

And more than that, Gwynedd Mercy University was recently listed as one of the top 20 colleges in Pennsylvania for return on investment and in the top 30% nationally in a 2016 Payscale ranking. Graduates of GMercyU see a net return on nearly $350,000 over 20 years. Given that most people work much longer than 20 years, that’s a trend worth noting!

GMercyU’s Financial Aid Office is always available to walk you through the process of determining which option is the best for you to finance your education. The university also hosts information sessions such as Griffin K.E.Y.S. and FAFSA Completion Nights. To learn more about the financial aid process, GMercyU’s website is a good place to start.

Good luck!