Is College Necessary?

Students chilling out at San Jose State (Photo: Lipo Chang)

Does a college degree matter? A new study by the Public Policy Institute of California says it depends on who you ask. While roughly half of Californians don’t think so, this number changes depending on which ethnic and income groups you ask. Two-thirds of Latinos surveyed say that yes a degree does matter, slightly more than half of Asians and African-Americans agree, but only 35% of whites would say yes. Additionally, households earning less than $40,000 a year would say that college is a necessity, but the number drops to 42% when surveying households bringing in less than $80,000.

Why do these numbers change? First, college is becoming more and more expensive, essentially pricing out many low-income families. Students are hesitant to take on large student debts. Another reason may be because families that have many generations of college-attendees, they may not be able to recognize the role college played in their success. From the 1,700 people surveyed, 56% reported that “college affordability is a major problem.”


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