Last updated on: 1/27/2020 | Author:

Pro & Con Quotes: Is a College Education Worth It?


PRO (yes)

Pro 1

Marisol Cuellar Mejia, Cesar Alesi Perez, Vicki Hsieh, and Hans Johnson, all of the Public Policy Institute of California, state:

“Higher education is a critical driver of economic progress. It is also the key policy lever for improving mobility from one generation to the next, especially for low-income, first-generation, Black, and Latino students. As the state’s economy has evolved, the job market has increasingly demanded more highly educated workers, a trend that is projected to continue into the future.

In addition to having higher earnings and better job benefits, college graduates are more likely to own a home and less likely to be in poverty or need social services. Society as a whole is also better off, thanks to lower unemployment, less demand for public assistance programs, lower incarceration rates, higher tax revenue, and greater civic engagement.”


Marisol Cuellar Mejia, et al., “Is College Worth It?,”, Mar. 2023

Pro 2

Richard M. Schulze, founder and chairman emeritus of Best Buy Co., Inc. and founder of The Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation, states:

“The truth is it [college] remains a crucial driver of success. But we must empower our students with the skills to be innovators, creators and entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship education empowers students to think creatively, to seek opportunities and solve problems, to empathize with others, to take risks, to accept failure as part of the growth process, and to help take a passion or idea and turn it into a viable business. Learning to think and act like an entrepreneur emboldens students to take charge of their own destinies, and in doing so, it powers the American Dream.
My success story [which includes no college education] is the kind of entrepreneurship story that people like to glamorize, but the reason those stories are popular is because they’re so unlikely. What we need right now aren’t idealized stories of success, but a reliable pathway for all bright young minds with the right ideas to make the most of their opportunities, and entrepreneurial education provides just that.”


Richard M. Schulze, “Best Buy Founder: What Every US College Should Teach Their Students,”, Mar. 6, 2022

Pro 3

Jim McCorkell, founder and CEO of College Possible, states:

“The message that college is ‘no longer worth it’ is not only false but also dangerous for America’s low-income students…

On the whole, a college degree remains the surest bet for social and economic advancement. The economic returns of college are especially profound for low-income students, and yet they are far more susceptible to college avoidance than their more affluent peers, who are likely to go to college anyway.

Such views are hugely problematic for those of us hoping to improve economic mobility in the United States. Almost all the job and wage growth now goes to people with some form of postsecondary education. “


Jim McCorkell, “The Dangerous Message in Telling Low-Income Students to Skip College,”, June 4, 2019

Pro 4

Jeanne Allen, founder of the Center for Education Reform, states:

“[M]ost students who finish a U.S. higher education have trained minds that can handle a variety of positions and occupations. While that may not materialize for every student, it’s simply folly to argue we should discourage higher ed aspirations for millions because there are unfilled jobs in service fields. Meanwhile, China knows that higher ed attainment is directly correlated to successful economies. That’s why they export their students here and import our universities’ practices…

Our society loses the ability to function when its citizens do not know history, cannot and are not trained to read complicated texts and cannot weigh decisions for themselves, their world…

Any employer wants employees who can problem-solve and who knows how to learn. There are many paths to those attributes, but college – or some modern evolution of it — is the most likely equalizer for these soft skills.”


Jeanne Allen, “College Isn’t For Whom?,”, Mar. 28, 2019

Pro 5

Rory Kraft, philosophy professor at York College of Pennsylvania, states:

“The trouble with the ‘college is not for everyone’ message is not in the recognition that the trades are a necessary part of our life. It is the message that college is only for ‘some’ people.

In an attempt to beat back the perception that a college education is elite, those who call for an appreciation of the professional tracks have inadvertently put forward that carpenters don’t need to know history, mechanics don’t need critical thinking, HVAC technicians don’t need to understand economics, or that landscapers shouldn’t be fluent in a second language…

I want everyone to have the benefits of a college education: to have the skills to live a life full of enjoyment, reflection and self-betterment.”


Rory Kraft, “College Is Not for Everyone? Here’s What That Mantra Gets Wrong,”, Sep. 2, 2019

Pro 6

Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States, states:

“Education helps us be better people. It helps us be better citizens. You came to college to learn about the world and to engage with new ideas and to discover the things you’re passionate about — and maybe have a little fun. And to expand your horizons. That’s terrific — that’s a huge part of what college has to offer.

But you’re also here, now more than ever, because a college degree is the surest ticket to the middle class. It is the key to getting a good job that pays a good income — and to provide you the security where even if you don’t have the same job for 30 years, you’re so adaptable and you have a skill set and the capacity to learn new skills, it ensures you’re always employable.

And that is the key not just for individual Americans, that’s the key for this whole country’s ability to compete in the global economy. In the new economy, jobs and businesses will go wherever the most skilled, best-educated workforce resides… And I want them to look no further than the United States of America.”


Barack Obama, “Remarks at Pellissippi State Community College,”, Jan. 9, 2015

CON (no)

Con 1

Steve Siebold, certified financial educator, states:

“You won’t find as many college students heading back to class this fall. That’s because enrollment is down nationwide, and rightfully so. There are 4 million fewer students in college now than there were 10 years ago. It’s certainly easy to blame things like the pandemic and a strong labor market, but I believe what it really comes down to is students just don’t want to endure hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt, and it’s hard to blame them….

Many years ago, it wasn’t even a question. If you wanted a good job you had to go to college. For most kids across America, it was as logical as saying if you want to prevent cavities you have to brush your teeth and floss. Now we are living in a different time and a very different world. In fact, as recently as the last two years, confidence in the value of education has been declining, and college enrollment has fallen by more than 1 million students since spring 2020.

There’s no doubt that saying you are a college graduate holds some level of prestige and is necessary for certain occupations. If you want to be a doctor or lawyer, for example, it’s not even a question. On the heels of a recession, however, most high school grads would be better off either entering the workforce immediately and gaining practical real-world experience (which can take you much further than a college education), attending a specialty school geared specifically toward what you want to do with your life, and if college is a must, then considering a more affordable option like doing two years at a community college.”


Steve Siebold, “Steve Siebold: College Not Worth the Debt,”, Aug. 16, 2022

Con 2

Mike Rowe, television host of the shows Dirty Jobs and Somebody’s Gotta Do It, states:

“[W]hen we gave the big push for college back in the 70s, we did it at the expense of alternative education. In other words, we told people, ‘If you don’t get your degree, you’re gonna wind up turning a wrench.’

That attitude led to the remove of shop classes around the country. And the removal of shop classes completely obliterated from view the optical and visual proof of opportunity for a whole generation of kids. The skills gap today, in my opinion, is the result of the removal of shop class and the repeated message that the best path for the most people happens to be the most expensive path.

This is why, in my opinion, we have $1.6 million in student loans on the books, and 7.3 million open positions, most of which don’t require a four-year degree. We’re just disconnected. We’re rewarding behavior we should be discouraging, we’re lending money we don’t have to kids who are never going to be able to pay it back, to train them for jobs that don’t exist anymore. That’s nuts.”


Fox Business Live, “‘Dirty Jobs’ Star Mike Rowe Says America’s Workforce Is ‘Disconnected'”, Nov. 7, 2019

Con 3

Tim Knight, hedge fund manager and author, states:

“Some of you know that I graduated from college rather swiftly (in just 2 1/2 years)… The information I garnered during those 2 1/2 years hasn’t been useful to me even once during the many years since I graduated, and there isn’t a single contact I made in college that was beneficial to me in any way at all.

Simply stated, I could have gone straight from high school to work without any difference.”


Tim Knight, “Is College Worth It?,” ZeroHedge, Mar. 7, 2017

Con 4

Meghan McNulty, attorney, political commentator, and biomedical engineer, states:

“With college costs sky-high, mastering a skill, passion or trade while others are going into $200,000+ in debt attending college can give young adults a head start on wealth creation and life.

Non-college graduates have plenty of opportunities, including many tech jobs available with good salaries that are not being filled. It was recently reported that AI could do more harm to college graduate required jobs than those jobs that do not require a college degree, as mastering a skill or trade can be extremely lucrative as the workforce is lacking experts in certain trades and skill sets…

College degrees don’t give you real skills to be successful, only life does. Having real life work experiences can be even more valuable than a college degree.”


Meghan McNulty, “Why College May No Longer Be Financially Worth It,”, Nov. 26, 2019

Con 5

Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit, states:

“Do you really need to go to college? There is a huge student loan debt problem in this country. I think there’s going to need to be a drastic change in how these universities work. And I also think we’ve lambasted the trades for way too long. You can make six figures as a welder.”


David Gelle, “Alexis Ohanian Talks Reddit, Serena Williams and Metallica,”, Apr. 4, 2018

Con 6

Michelle R. Weise, Higher Education Senior Research Fellow at the Clayton Christensen Institute, states:

“Community college is great if it helps you get a bachelor’s degree, but only one in five students attending these institutions goes on to earn the degree within six years according to federal data. In addition, only 21% of first-time, full-time students earn an associate’s degree within three years, and tuition is not the main obstacle to the completion of a degree for low-income students.

Census Bureau data reveal that for most students with some college and no degree, it actually pays—in pure earnings premiums—to pursue a professional certification or educational certificate instead of a stand-alone associate’s degree…

Today, many employers demand more and higher academic credentials because of their dissatisfaction with the quality of degree-holders…

Continued focus on a college degree loses sight of the needs of most first-generation, low-income and minority students…

College is not the only path into the middle class.”


Michelle R. Weise, “Obama’s Dead-End Community College Plan,”, Jan. 12, 2015