Some Americans spend thousands--even hundreds of thousands--of dollars on higher education. As the cost of a degree continues to rise, it appears some have begun to question the worth of a college education.
According to a survey recently conducted by Country Financial, only 57 percent of adults believe a college education is a good investment.
ABC News reports that number has "plummeted" since 2008 when 81 percent of adults considered college a worthy investment. The network attributes the steepest decline in those numbers to the Great Recession.
That figure remains constant (fluctuating about 4 percent) across nearly every demographic, including various age groups, race, family size, and marriage. Income seemed to have the greatest impact, with 70 percent of households making $100,000 a year or more affirming the worth of a college education while only 47 percent of those making less than $20,000 per year agreed.
Despite the decrease in a college diploma's perceived value, the survey found an increased tolerance for the debt that people would be willing to take on while pursuing their degree. Just over 50 percent of respondents said $20,000 in debt was too much; last year, however, NBC News points out that 61 percent of respondents had the same limit.
About 62 percent of those surveyed placed the quality of education as a higher priority than the cost, which may partially explain the higher tolerance for debt, according to a press release accompanying the data.
In March of this year, student loan debt hit $1 trillion for the first time, leading some to label the loans as "too big to fail."
Still, most experts agree that, regardless of public opinion, investing in a college degree is worthwhile.
In April of this year Time magazine concluded that college grads out-earn their lesser educated peers by an average of around $570,000 -- enough to justify the investment.
BEFORE YOU GO
As of June 2012: