The Federal Reserve Bank does more than set the country’s monetary policy; It keeps a close eye on Americans’ views of the economy and their own financial well-being. And its close observation that the latest iteration of the family survey reaffirms people’s faith in higher education but also signals some important warnings for college leaders.
Some of the results of “The Economic Wellbeing of the U.S. Family in 2021” are those who believe that higher education is essential for personal economic success and satisfaction in the United States.
Americans with at least a bachelor’s degree are much more likely to describe themselves financially as “at least doing well” than their peers, those with an associate’s or technical degree, or those with “some college,” a little more than just a high school degree.
Consistent with the previous iteration of the survey, the majority of Americans who went to college (52 percent) said that the lifetime benefits of higher education outweigh the financial costs. Nineteen percent said the benefits outweighed the costs, and the rest were divisive.
The difference in perceived quality was sharp based on different characteristics. Less than one-third (31 percent) who have some college but no degree said the benefits outweighed the costs, as did 46 percent of those with an associate’s degree and 67 percent of Americans with a bachelor’s degree or higher.
Graduates from public and private nonprofit colleges (69 and 63 per cent, respectively) were more likely to perceive their post-secondary investments as worth it than their counterparts from profitable colleges (43 per cent).
Age is another divider. At both undergraduate and associate degree levels, older graduates were much more likely than younger ones to have the benefits of their degree outweigh the costs. The Federal Reserve report estimates that “older respondents have a longer time to experience the benefits of their education than younger respondents.” It further speculates that the diversification may be driven by the rising cost of higher education – those who have recently attended college are likely to face higher costs than those who have attended college in the past.
Not only that, they had to bear much more to finance their own education than their predecessors এবং and to go into debt and finance it, reinforced by another part of a consultation report, on its impact on debt.
The report found that 30 percent of adults – about 40 percent of those who went to college – took out loans to cover those costs, with student loans representing the lion’s share of those loans.
Compared to the previous year in the survey, fewer student borrowers complained of lagging behind in their payments (12 percent vs. 17 percent in 2019), and a larger proportion of loan borrowers (73 percent) described themselves as “at least OK.” Financially, 2019 increased from 65 percent in 2019 These positive results are almost certainly a direct result of congressional and Biden administration policies that have suspended the payment of student loans throughout the epidemic and continue to this day. This fall is about to begin, although the Biden administration is weighing more permanent debt relief for many borrowers.
While age may be a significant factor in the perceived value of college education to students, debt is a major issue, especially among undergraduates.
Although about three-quarters of undergraduates who have no debt or have repaid believe that their educational benefits outweigh the costs, only 46 percent of those who currently have student loans see it.
A final part of the report, focusing on whether Americans regret their decision to pursue higher education, reflects the strange dynamics around how higher education is viewed in the United States.
A table (below) shows that two-thirds of those who did not have a degree wanted to finish more education, while one in 10 Americans would say they either did not go to college or studied less.
Nearly a quarter of those who have at least a bachelor’s degree say they want to go to a different college (more than half of those who went to a for-profit college) where more than a third (37 percent) want to choose a different field of study.
Students studying in the humanities, arts, and social sciences programs probably said that.