While college is meant to train young Americans for a better future as professionals, many graduates are joining the workforce feeling dissatisfied. A PayScale Salary Survey discussed this issue with 248,000 users and listed some of their biggest regrets.
Nearly two-thirds of surveyed college graduate participants reported higher education disappointment. Most users agreed their biggest regrets came from the steep student loans they took out for school. Between rapidly increasing class fees, books, living expenses, and even college bribery in some cases, higher education has become a major expense comparable to buying a car or even a home. As public university tuition has increased by 62% over the last decade, so has the national total student loan debt. The astronomical amount has already surpassed credit card debt and is rapidly approaching the $1.6 trillion mark this year.
The second biggest graduate regret had to do with chosen careers. Researchers analyzed this result by comparing generations, major groups, degree levels, and school types. Unsurprisingly, those with technical, STEAM and high earning fields reported the least regret, while participants who chose to graduate in Humanities, Social Sciences, Art and Education reported the highest disappointment. This may come from the relatively low salaries for those working these fields.
Pursuing higher education beyond a Bachelor’s degree had a positive impact over graduates, as users reported fewer regrets as the education levels increased. Those with Ph.D.’s reported the highest satisfaction with their degrees, as 42.6% said they feel “no regrets”.
The generational group with the most regrets were found to be what is considered “Millennials”, mainly due to aggressively growing tuition costs. These translate into higher monthly loan payments after graduation that can eat away at important investments like homes and building a family.
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