Most Students View College as Investment in Their Future

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Most college students are taking a dollars-and-cents approach to college. In a recent survey of 405 users, more than half of students viewed college as "an investment in my future." Less than 6 percent considered college to be "4-6 years of fun."

So what is college? Four years of fun? Freedom from the parents? A great place to meet girls or guys? As it turns out, most college-bound students are very practical in their views of what college is to them. More than half of the 405 users surveyed on the College Toolkit website ( responded that college is "an investment in my future."

Twenty-two percent of respondents still think of college primarily as a bastion of knowledge, viewing it as "an opportunity to learn." Only a handful of students have visions of "Animal House" or "Old School" when defining what college is to them, responding that college is "4-6 years of fun."

"The cost of college continues to push higher and higher. College graduates are leaving with more and more student loan debt. It only makes sense that young adults are beginning to view college in cold, hard financial terms of 'investment and return,'" president Mark Rothbaum said.

This dollars-and-cents approach can be seen in the majors that students are choosing. According to the Department of Education's NCES database, the number of bachelors degrees awarded to English majors increased 8.0 percent between 2001 and 2006, while the number awarded to business majors increased 22.2 percent.

"When a college education can run upwards of $140,000, a cost-benefit approach probably isn't a bad idea," Rothbaum said.


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Mark Rothbaum