"If they gave gold statuettes for tears and regrets," Ronnie Milsap sang in a classic country song, "I'd be a legend in my time."
Most of us have a few regrets, but no one should regret their college choice. Yet a recent Federal Reserve Board report shows that many Americans wish they had studied at a different school or chosen another major.
More than half of those who attended a for-profit institution wish they'd studied at a different college. Fourteen percent of for-profit college attendees reported wishing they had received less postsecondary education or not gone to college at all.
In addition, many Americans are skeptical about the benefits of their college education. Most older Americans (82 percent of people ages 60 and older) believe that the benefits of their college education exceed the costs.
In contrast, many people in the traditional college-going years (ages 18-29) aren't sure that a college degree is worth the money. Among young Americans, only slightly more than half (56 percent) believe that the benefits of their education exceeded the cost. More than a third of college attendees in the 30-44 age bracket reported that the cost of their education outweighed the benefits.
The Federal Reserve report also found that a high percentage of people who majored in the humanities or social sciences regret their choice of major. Forty-eight percent of people who majored in the humanities and 46 percent of those who majored in social and behavioral sciences wish they had selected a different academic program.
For years, high school graduates were told they would never get ahead unless they obtained a college degree--and that the benefits of a college diploma far outweigh the cost.
Yet, these findings show that many Americans are unhappy about their college experience. A high percentage wish they had attended a different school or chosen another academic major. Perhaps most alarming, more than four out of ten young people think the cost of their college education exceeded the benefits.
My thanks go to Dahl Shaul and Glen McGhee for calling my attention to the Recent Federal Reserve Board report.