Millennials Support Online Education, Concerned About College Costs

Ann McClure's picture

Millennials are concerned about the high cost of college, and that worry is leading them to be more supportive online education, a new poll from Northeastern University finds.

A large majority of Americans surveyed -- 83 percent -- believe going to college is a good investment, yet more people gave the country's higher education system a "negative" rating than a positive one. Young adults aged 18 to 29 were more likely to hold a "negative" opinion compared to other age groups, 38 percent to 34 percent of Americans overall. Millennials' top reasons cited for giving a "negative" rating were the high cost of college and the difficulty of getting a job after graduation.

Occupations requiring post-secondary degrees will be among the fastest growing between 2010 and 2020, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data analyzed by the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities in New York. Yet outstanding student loan debt continues to climb, even as total consumer indebtedness is falling. Student loan debt grew by $42 billion in just the third quarter of this year, the New York Federal Reserve announced this week, outpacing all other forms of non-real estate consumer debt. In fact, defaulted student loan debt alone was greater than new auto loans: $19 billion over $18 billion.

That is perhaps why young people were more likely to say the cost of college was "excessive," and that "the financial burden outweighs the benefits," though a majority still felt higher education costs were "reasonable" or "very worthwhile." And it may explain why millennials are fans of taking classes online.

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