The cost of a college degree: Is it worth it?

There are many different options for families and students about what to do next upon completing high school other than going to college because the costs are so high, according to author and columnist Ron Lieber.

The price of a four-year college education has skyrocketed. There are now 43 million borrowers who collectively owe more than $1.6 trillion.

Today, when getting out of college doesn’t necessarily translate to a stable, well-paying job, it raises a big question: Is college worth it? If so, what’s the appropriate price tag? And, how would we really know?

It’s August, which means college applications, test-taking and prospective students milling about college campuses. Many young people and their families are actively considering what their soon-to-be graduates should do next. The book, “The Price You Pay for College,” explains how to navigate the situation. 

“It’s a different world. It’s a different generation, and that may necessitate different choices for you and your family.” —Ron Lieber, author and columnist

Listen: How to navigate college when the price is often prohibitively high.



Ron Lieber is a New York Times columnist, where he writes the “Your Money” column. His most recent book is “The Price You Pay for College.” He says that because the cost of college has risen so much, many parents and students are making decisions to do something other than attend a university.

“It’s a different world,” says Lieber. “It’s a different generation, and that may necessitate different choices for you and your family.”

Trusted, accurate, up-to-date.

WDET strives to make our journalism accessible to everyone. As a public media institution, we maintain our journalistic integrity through independent support from readers like you. If you value WDET as your source of news, music and conversation, please make a gift today.

Donate today »


  • Detroit Today
    Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.