New Poll Shows Nearly Half of Americans Losing Faith in Financial Power of Bachelor’s Degree

Cleveland area students learn about the Sheet Metal Workers apprenticeship program.

A recent poll, conducted by the Wall Street Journal and NBC News, reveals nearly half of Americans do not think a bachelor’s degree is a good financial investment.

The poll, released in September, showed 47 percent of those surveyed do not believe a bachelor’s degree will lead to a good job and higher lifetime earnings, while 49 percent believed earning a four-year college degree will lead to a good job and a higher lifetime earnings.

Cleveland area students learn about the Sheet Metal Workers apprenticeship program.

Cleveland area students learn about the Sheet Metal Workers apprenticeship program.

Based on the results, two subgroups surveyed had the highest rate of not believing in the value of a bachelor ’s degree. Adults between the ages of 18-34 and a portion of the working class lost the most amount of confidence in the value of a college degree. About 57 percent of those ages 18-34 years-old and 65 percent of working class members who identify as caucasians said the education was not worth the price tag.
Roughly 66 percent of those living in rural areas, 60 percent of the overall poor and working class and 58 percent of those with some college education do not believe in the value of a bachelor’s degree.

Other groups saying a four-year degree is not worth the cost include those with a high school degree or less (55 percent), men (53 percent) and white males (49 percent).

A NBC News article on the survey said those who believe a bachelor’s degree is not worth the cost often cited the reason being “because people often graduate without specific job skills and with a large amount of debt to pay off.”

The reasons for not believing in the value of a four-year degree are valid, as many degrees do not give students a specific skillset to succeed in their dream job. Furthermore, many of these degrees are in job fields where there is already an overabundance of people looking to get into that line of work.

By applying for an apprenticeship with any affiliated Cleveland Building Trades union, a person can avoid having to repay an average college debt of over $37,000.

Cleveland Building Trade apprentices earn while they earn. This means they are paid to learn a trade, receiving livable wages and benefits, all while gaining a free education and skillset that they can use throughout their career.

To find out more about apprenticeship opportunities with our affiliated trades, click here.

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