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Is a College Degree Worth It?

EKU graduate wearing cap and gown with diploma

The consensus among experts, research and statistics continues to suggest, yes. You’ve already heard about the pros of pursuing a college degree: better job opportunities, increased job satisfaction, higher pay, greater benefits and a better chance of staying employed in times of crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic. But what about the cons? Common cons include paying too much for your degree or struggling to pay off student loan debt long after graduation. We hear you; those are legitimate concerns.

Washington Monthly named EKU a “Best Bang for the Buck” college, a listing of schools “that help non-wealthy students attain marketable degrees at affordable prices.

Getting your degree from Eastern Kentucky University ensures the pros well outweigh the cons, making your degree worth it. EKU is known for providing a high-quality and affordable education, and now, EKU is more affordable than ever. In addition to an affordable tuition rate, nearly 80 percent of students benefit from many types of financial aid, including scholarships, grants, work-study and loans. With refunds applied, the average full-time, in-state EKU student pays just $5,096 per year, including tuition, fees, dining and housing. Divided by 12 months, that’s just $424 per month! Skipping college to go straight to work might cost you more than the monthly cost to attend EKU.  

So, in effect, pursuing a degree at EKU and living on campus could cost less than average living expenses. But, let’s take it a step further: how long would it take for your degree to pay itself off? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers with a bachelor’s degree earned over $400 more per week than those with a high school diploma (2017). At $5,096 per year, your extra earnings could pay off your degree in less than one year. 

$5,096 (average cost for a full-time, in-state EKU student per year) x 4 years = $20,384 

$20,384 / $400 more per week earnings with a college degree = 50.96 weeks

The statistics and data clearly and consistently show higher earnings with a college degree. As you can see in the chart below, even during 2020, the median weekly earnings for those with bachelor’s degree or higher is more than $600 than for those with just a high school diploma.

chart from bureau of labor statistics that shows earnings of students by degree earned

What’s more – six months after graduation, 95 percent of EKU graduates report being satisfied with their career choice, and 75 percent are employed in Kentucky, the highest rate among Kentucky’s public institutions. Many of EKU’s graduates go to work providing essential services in Kentucky communities, including healthcare, emergency services, education and others.

Don’t put off your career goals-- get started now. Applying to EKU now ensures that you get priority consideration for scholarship opportunities, financial aid and housing choices. Plus, the application is free. There’s nothing to lose, but plenty to gain. 

Published on December 03, 2020

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