Articles overstate millennials' loss of interest in going to college

<div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even" property="content:encoded"><p>The headline is the sort that could send a chill down the spine of college and university administrators. &quot;<a href="https://nypost.com/2019/08/06/half-of-young-americans-say-college-is-no-... target="_blank">Half of Young Americans Say College Is No Longer Necessary</a>,&quot; blared <em>The New York Post</em>, slightly shortening the title of <a href="https://www.marketwatch.com/story/half-of-young-americans-say-college-is... target="_blank">a <em>Marketwatch</em> article</a> that was also picked up by numerous newspapers and radio stations around the country.</p>

<p>The article summarized <a href="https://s2.q4cdn.com/437609071/files/doc_news/research/2019/young-americ... target="_blank">a Harris survey of more than 3,000 Americans</a> about college-going, supported by TD Ameritrade, the brokerage firm.</p>

<p>Trouble is, that&#39;s not at all what the survey found.</p>

<p>Don&#39;t get us wrong: the survey&#39;s true results suggest some real doubts on the part of former, current and prospective students (and parents) about the value of higher education, reflecting other signs of public doubts.</p>

<p>Most of the concerns are financial.</p>

<ul>
<li>&quot;Young&quot; millennials (which Harris pegged at those aged 22 to 28) say they are paying two-thirds of the costs of their college education.</li>
<li>Forty-six&nbsp;percent said they are paying for their educations with student loans, up seven percentage points from 2017.</li>
<li>About a third of millennials say they expect to still be paying off their student debt into their 40s (and 15&nbsp;percent expect to be doing so after hitting the half-century mark).</li>
<li>Roughly three-quarters of millennials say they either chose (or would choose) a less expensive college to avoid debt.</li>
<li>Between one and two in five millennials say they have delayed a significant milestone of growing up -- moving out of their parents&#39; home (31&nbsp;percent), buying a home (47&nbsp;percent), having children (21&nbsp;percent), saving for retirement (40&nbsp;percent) -- because of student debt.</li>
</ul>

<p>A full quarter of millennials, 26&nbsp;percent, said they had considered &quot;delaying college due to the expense of paying for it,&quot; and nearly a third said they had considered attending a community college instead of pursuing a four-year degree (31&nbsp;percent) or getting an associate degree instead of a bachelor&#39;s degree (30&nbsp;percent).</p>

<p>And in the closest parallel to the articles&#39; headline, 15&nbsp;percent of young millennials said they did not expect to attend college or trade school (another 4&nbsp;percent said they weren&#39;t sure, while the rest, 81&nbsp;percent, said they expected to go).</p>

<p>It was another finding that appears to have inspired the article&#39;s headline writer, though. Just under half of millennials, 49&nbsp;percent, said their degree was &quot;very or somewhat unimportant&quot; in getting them their current job. Fifty-one&nbsp;percent said the degree was very or somewhat important.</p>

<p>&quot;&#39;No longer necessary&#39; refers to the fact that half of young Americans say their degree is not relevant to their job,&quot; James Wellemeyer, who wrote the <em>Marketwatch</em> article, said in a direct message on Twitter.</p>

<p>But asked what advice they might give to their &quot;18-year-old self&quot; regarding college, 19&nbsp;percent recommended working to earn money while in college, and 8&nbsp;percent said to &quot;take the bare minimum of student loans.&quot;</p>

<p>The percentage who said their advice would be &quot;don&#39;t go to college&quot;? Five&nbsp;percent.</p>

<p><em>(Note: </em>Marketwatch<em> updated the headline on its article after </em>Inside Higher Ed <em>inquired about it. The </em>New York Post <em>headline stands.)</em></p>
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