With half of recent college graduates jobless or underemployed, many people are rethinking the value of college. A good investment doesn’t require subsidy — yet President Barack Obama is demanding more subsidies for student loans, paradoxically insisting, “College is the best investment you can make.”
The President is living in the past. Sure, college was a great investment in the 1960s and ’70s. Today? Not so much.
At first blush, Obama’s claim seems plausible: According to the U.S. Census, in 2010, the average high school graduate earned about $39,000, compared to about $83,000 for the average college graduate. At that rate, if he works from age 18 to 65, the high school grad will earn about $1.84 million over 47 years, while the college grad (from age 22 to 65) earns about $3.58 million – $1.74 million more than the high school grad, with four years less work.