Most Americans have been taught that college is an indispensable investment, but many are now experiencing "buyer's remorse." Almost two-thirds of graduates regret or have regrets about their college degrees, according to a survey by the employee compensation research firm PayScale.
The study was based on 248,000 responses to PayScale’s online salary survey between April and May of this year.
Among those holding a bachelor’s degree or higher, 66.1 percent of respondents expressed having regret about their college education, while only 33.9 percent reported having no regrets. The survey allowed users to select their biggest regret about college from a list. Overwhelmingly, the top regret was student loans, with 27.1 percent listing it as their greatest misgiving.
Area of study came in second place at 12.2 percent, followed by poor networking (11.2 percent), time to complete college (5.8 percent), academic underachievement (5.2 percent), choice of school (3.4 percent), and having too many degrees (1.2 percent).
But the numbers varied by generation. Baby boomers were the only one of the surveyed generations in which a majority claimed to have no regrets (51.3 percent) about college. Only 13.4 percent of boomers said they regretted their student loan. In Generation X, 37.3 percent said they have no regrets and 26.2 percent cited regret for their loans. Regret was highest with millennials, among whom 28.8 percent regret their loans, versus 28.7 percent who said they have no regrets.
College regret statistics also differed according to major. Respondents with majors in engineering and other well-paid fields expressed less regret overall about their college education. A total of 42 percent of engineering majors said they have no regrets about college, while 37.3 percent of education majors and 34.9 percent of computer science majors said the same. On the opposite side of the spectrum, only 26.9 percent of social science majors and 25.2 percent of humanities majors responded as having no regrets.
When it came to the issue of debt, 37.7 percent of health science majors and 32.1 percent of art majors regretted their loans, followed by social sciences (30.4 percent) and education (28.1 percent). By contrast, just 18.7 percent of engineering majors and 15 percent of math majors said they felt regret for their loans.
Overall, humanities majors led the list of those who said they regret their chosen area of study, with 21.2 percent responding affirmatively. Physical and life sciences and social sciences were close behind, both at slightly over 17 percent.
Engineering and computer science majors were the most satisfied with their choice of major, with only 7.8 percent and 4.3 percent expressing regret, respectively.
The findings come as student debt has gained a prominent place in American political discourse. This year, 70 percent of college students graduated with debt, with an average of $33,000 per student.
The national student loan debt of $1.6 trillion has now surpassed credit card debt by over $3 billion. Tuition costs increase at twice the rate of consumer inflation and eight times faster than wages. Adding to the issue is the difficulty under current law of discharging student loans in bankruptcy.
A number of Democratic presidential primary candidates have released student loan forgiveness plans. This week, Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders announced that he would eliminate all outstanding student debt in the country — and pay for it with a Wall Street tax that would include a 0.5-percent tax on stock transactions and a 0.1-percent tax on bonds.
Other presidential contenders, including Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Julian Castro, have made similar proposals.
It remains to be seen whether frustration over college costs and debt will carry the issue over to the general election.
Luis Miguel is a marketer and writer whose journalistic endeavors shed light on the Deep State, the immigration crisis, and the enemies of freedom. Follow his exploits on Facebook, Twitter, Bitchute, and at luisantoniomiguel.com.