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New data supports worth of college degree

By Miles Halpine
On February 28, 2014

A recent survey found many Americans agree it is worth paying the money for a college degree - and there is new data to support it. At the University of Connecticut, many in the community are certain that they made the right choice by attending the school.
In a poll conducted by the Pew Research Center, and released earlier this month, respondents overwhelmingly said paying the cost of tuition and other expenses in college was worth it for the degrees that they earned.
Debt from loans is affecting college students everywhere, but the data results are an example of why graduates still say it was worth all the money for the degree.
The report was published Feb. 11 and is titled "The Rising Cost of Not Going to College." It details the outcome of the survey, which found that the unemployment rate for those who obtained at least a Bachelor's degree was 3.8 percent while, for those with a two-year degree or who attended some college, it was 8.1 percent and 12.2 percent for those who only graduated from high school.
John Sinnorai, a 6th-semester political science major, said, "it depends on the student," but if you want to do well in society, it helps to have a college degree.
He also said those who don't attend college are not dealing with the costs of increased tuition and student loans.
Gennaro DeAngelis, the associate director of UConn Student Financial Aid Services, said "The primary role of the Office of Student Financial Aid Services is to reduce the barriers that limit access to a higher education."
DeAngelis said they are able to do this with "equitable distribution of financial aid packages to eligible students that consist of scholarships, grants, loans and part-time employment."
"The Office of Student Financial Aid Services," DeAngelis said, "makes every effort to meet the student's financial need with scholarships, grants, loans and part-time employment" if the income of a family cannot directly cover the entire cost.
While the Student Financial Aid office works to help students with financial assistance when paying for tuition, the university is working to make it more affordable for more students.
Stephanie Reitz, a spokesperson for UConn, said "anyone who attends college knows it's an investment in many ways - of your time, of your energy and yes, of your resources. UConn takes that very seriously and works very hard to make that investment worthwhile, helping students graduate as quickly as possible so they can avoid additional semesters' expense and providing more than $400 million in financial aid support in the 2013 budget year alone."
"In fact," Reitz said, "we rank 14th among the top 50 public universities in the percentage of freshmen who receive need-based financial aid. While it's true that college isn't for everyone, what's also true is that having a college degree opens doors to a wider variety of career options and job prospects."
A recent report from the state Office of Program Review and Investigations (PRI) released last month found that UConn is becoming less affordable to students, especially those who are in-state. While the cost "compares well to other flagships and peers for in-state students," the report said that the overall cost has risen.
One key finding of the report was that, while it can be affordable, the burden of paying is growing on lower- and middle-income families. The PRI offered recommendations, such as informing "policymakers about UConn's financial aid, credit acceptance policies and graduate employment outcomes."
To see more information from the survey, visit www.pewsocialtrends.org.
 


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