LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) - College costs are higher than ever, and a well-paying job isn't always waiting for graduates at the end of their schooling - but a new report says that college degree is still worth it.
According to a survey by Wells Fargo, almost a third of college-age kids in the U.S. say they would have been better off working right out of high school instead of going on to college. But the latest report by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York says people with a college degree ultimately make more money over their lifetime - significantly more.
According to the report, people with a bachelor's degree make, on average, $1.2 million more than those with a high school degree. Those with an associate's degree make $325,000 more.
"Even after you factor in the cost of that debt, this study is saying you're going to come out ahead, our students are going to come out ahead in terms of our earning," says Tim Tritch, director for UW-La Crosse's Career Services Department.
Samantha Karl, a junior at UW-L, says she has plenty of student debt even as she works her way through school.
"When I start applying for loans and stuff I get worried because that's a lot of money, but I feel like the job after college will like help me pay it back in time," she says.
She's not alone - about 12 million U.S. kids pay for school with some student loans, according to American Student Assistance. But for Karl and other students, getting a bachelor's degree isn't just about the potential earning power - they're hoping to land a job they can fall in love with.
"Nowadays, if you only have a high school diploma, you can't get much variety for your job field - a lot of times you get stuck in a 9-to-5 job you don't like that much," Karl says. "With a college degree, you can at least choose something you're interested in."
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