For kids who go to college, work hard, stay on track to graduate within a reasonable amount of time AND major in a marketable degree program, college IS worth the cost, despite rising tuition rates.
A recent report from Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce states,
"A Bachelor’s degree is one of the best weapons a job seeker can wield in the fight for employment and earnings. And staying on campus to earn a graduate degree provides safe shelter from the immediate economic storm, and will pay off with greater employability and earnings once the graduate enters the labor market. Unemployment for students with new Bachelor’s degrees is an unacceptable 8.9 percent,1 but it’s a catastrophic 22.9 percent for job seekers with a recent high school diploma—and an almost unthinkable 31.5 percent for recent high school dropouts."
The report also explains that when combined with experienced college graduates, the unemployment rate for all Bachelor degree holders goes down to 5%.
The key here is to pick a major that is marketable and a school that will help the student achieve that goal within a reasonable amount of time.
Of course, we still need electricians, plumbers, carpenters and other skilled trades. These fields often command higher wages that some entry level jobs that require a college degree. Not every student is cut out for college, but if your student isn't college bound, strongly consider he take additional vocational classes to learn a trade.