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Half Of Parents Nowadays Don't Want Their Kids Going To A 4-Year College — 'A Degree Costs An Average Of $500,000'

Photo: @degreefree / TikTok
Hannah Murayama talking about how expensive a Bachelor's degree is

Hannah Maruyama is one-half of the “Degree Free” duo, working alongside Ryan Maruyama in order to teach people about the alternatives that exist outside of the “traditional path” of going to a 4-year college or university right after graduating high school.

According to recent studies, the growing costs of obtaining a college degree and increased competition in the job market have made Americans less confident in the higher education system — and Hannah does the math to explain how.

After all is said and done, a Bachelor’s degree will cost an average of $500,000.

A stock trading website that also deals in the news called Unusual Whale recently posted on X (formerly known as Twitter) claiming that a recent Wall Street Journal (WSJ) poll revealed nearly 50% of American parents would prefer their kids not enroll in a 4-year college.

Thanks to data from the National Center for Education Statistics, we know that the average cost for tuition per year, per student, is around $36,000. “Which is cute, right?” Hannah asks sarcastically. “$104,000 for four years, except for there’s one problem with that.”

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The problem is that most students aren’t graduating from a 4-year college in four years.

NCES data reveals that only 45% of students graduate in four years — most graduate in five-and-a-half or six years. According to the math done by Hannah, this equals out to nearly $200,000.

But wait, there’s more. When you take into account the amount of wages lost due to time spent in college and student loan interest over time, the average Bachelor’s degree will cost $500,000. Half a million dollars!



A Wall Street Journal-NORC survey published in March 2023 revealed that 56% of Americans think that paying for a 4-year degree is a “bad bet.” Hannah also believes that “buying a college degree” is incredibly “high risk.”

However, kids in school are brought up to believe that the normal career track is going to college right out of high school. Student counselors and teachers are constantly prepping kids to think about college what they’re going to continue studying and the degree they want to earn.

RELATED: Boomers Are Going Back To College For Just $10 A Credit Meanwhile Young People Are Straddled With Debt From Outrageous Fees

Hannah believes that understanding college isn’t worth it, is a hard pill to swallow.

“It’s a hard pill to swallow that that’s an irresponsible purchase because they have been marketing to us that one: it’s a necessary purchase, and that two: we deserve to purchase it,” she claims.

She equates the way people are brought up to view college as mere marketing tactics for people to purchase a product — the product being a college degree. Colleges and universities peddle the “higher education” experience as being the only way to achieve an education, when the reality is that there are so many ways to gain an education outside of that.

“You can purchase education everywhere, so when people talk about education being inaccessible, no. Not even higher education is [inaccessible] to people, that is not true,” Hannah argues. “College is inaccessible to people because colleges are greedy businesses.”

They’re raising the price of the education they’re offering and telling kids that they must purchase their “debt product,” as she calls it.

As prices for college tuition continue to rise and the value of a degree continues to be questioned, alternatives to the “traditional path” are becoming more and more prevalent. Parents are increasingly searching for alternatives for their children so they don’t end up owing half a million dollars after all is said and done.

RELATED: Rich Kids Have An Even More Unfair Advantage In Getting Into College — And It Goes Far Beyond Legacy

Isaac Serna-Diez is an Assistant Editor for YourTango who focuses on entertainment and news, social justice, and politics.