Fewer College Graduates “Strongly Agree” Their Education was Worth What They Paid

According to a new Gallup poll, recent college graduates are showing another sign of the end of the tuition bubble.

For now, nothing is likely to happen since a majority of students still agree that their college degree was worth the cost. But those who graduated since 2006 are far less likely to “strongly agree” that their education was worth it.

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Gallup tells us,

Amid recent controversy over rising tuition and mounting student debt totals, half of college graduates in the U.S. (50%) “strongly agree” that their undergraduate education was worth the cost. This figure varies only slightly between alumni of public (52%) and private nonprofit (47%) universities, but drops sharply to 26% among graduates of private for-profit universities.

Recent graduates, those who have obtained their bachelor’s degree beginning in 2006, are significantly less likely to strongly agree with this statement. Only 38% of recent alumni strongly agree their education was worth the cost.

The question, which is included in the new 2015 Gallup-Purdue Index study, is particularly relevant given the growing attention on the cost of higher education in the U.S. In November 2014, CNN captured the fervor over the issue with its documentary film Ivory Tower. The film cited some alarming statistics: Tuition has been rising at nearly three times the rate of inflation in recent years, and the total amount of outstanding student loan debt in the U.S. has grown to over $1.2 trillion. Presidential candidates from both major parties have already announced proposals for addressing the issue.

Already we find the number of students defaulting on their college debt is rising. This shows there is a limit to how much colleges can inflate their costs before they start hurting themselves. As they raise prices students are more likely to default on their loans. Along with that unsustainable trend, this report indicates the time will come when colleges are going to be forced to lower tuition rates rather than raise them.

At that point, nothing the government can do will perpetuate the bubble in tuition. The government-education industry will collapse.