“Is college worth it?” is a hot topic right now with rising student debt levels due to college education costs. Today a new report was released through CivicScience’s partnership with Hamilton Place Strategies, in which our joint Economic Sentiment Index (ESI) data was leveraged to examine the impact of both education levels and student debt on individuals’ economic confidence.
Among the key findings of our study:
- Economic confidence rises with education-level. College graduates’ ESI is five points above individuals with just some college and eight points above those with just a high school degree or less. Those with a post-graduate degree exhibit some diminishing returns with an ESI just one-point higher than those with just a college degree.
- Having a degree is a stronger predictor of confidence than student debt. Overall, those with student debt have lower economic confidence than those who don’t. However, college graduates with student debt have slightly higher economic confidence than those with just some college and no student debt.
- Student debt may impact confidence in buying a house. College graduates without student debt have a more optimistic view of the housing market than those with student debt. Still, those with a college degree and student debt are slightly more optimistic than those who have just some college, but have no student debt.
- The findings also point to the importance of students finishing their college education. Those with a college degree – student debt or no student debt – have a higher level of economic confidence than those with just some college.