July 17, 2012 at 8:16 AM ET
The high cost of tuition has more people questioning whether it’s worth it to go to college, according to a new survey.
Nearly 57 percent of people think college is a good financial investment for young adults these days, according to the survey of 3,000 Americans, which was conducted by Rasmusson Reports on behalf of Country Financial.
That’s down sharply from just four years ago, when 81 percent of people saw college as a good investment. The figure has fallen every year since 2008, the year the financial crisis hit.
This year, about 24 percent said they did not think a higher education was worth the investment, while about 19 percent were unsure.
Women were slightly more likely than men to say college was a good investment despite the rising cost, according to the Country Financial Survey. These days, women also are more likely to go to college than men.
The survey also found that wealthier people were more likely to see college as a good investment than those who make less money.
On the other hand, Americans seem to have a higher tolerance for debt related to education, at least as compared to last year. For example, last year 61 percent of those survyed said $20,000 or less in student loan debt was too much. This year, just 50 percent thought $20,000 or less would be too much.
When it comes to who should foot the bill, the vast majority of respondents said parents should be responsible for at least part of their kids’ college tuition. The results were roughly the same as the previous two years.
The cost of both public and private college educations has been rising steadily for decades, even when adjusted for inflation, according to the Department of Education.
Meanwhile, some economists have recently started raising alarm bells about the nation’s ballooning student loan debt, which some say has surpassed $1 trillion.
Still, many also caution that if you want a good job in this economy – or perhaps any job at all - it really pays to have a college degree. The unemployment rate for college graduates was 4.1 percent in June, compared with 8.4 percent for those with just a high school degree.
Do you have a question about affording college? Join CNBC money guru Sharon Epperson at 9:30 a.m. ET Wednesday for a live chat on paying for college.
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