Students weigh in on the value of higher education

In a downturned economy, money is tight, but Kent State students are still choosing to come to a four-year university instead of exploring cheaper options.

This fall, Kent State University officials are projecting a record freshman class. Many students said they wouldn’t be on campus today if they didn’t believe in the value a four-year degree still holds.

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Kevin Hallock, 40, is a disabled veteran and a sophomore exploratory major. Hallock has disabled bombs in Iraq, but said he’s “not going to get anywhere without a degree.”

Adam Bergh, a junior entrepreneurship major said he feels similarly.

“I think the 4-year degree has increased in value even though there are more people out there getting college degrees,” Bergh said.

Many Kent State students said they are happy with their decision to attend college and wouldn’t have chosen any other option.

Amanda Serrano, a senior Spanish major, attended a community college for two years before transferring to Kent State. Serrano said she is happy with her decision because it saved her a lot of money.

“It’s tough, because it takes money to earn money,” Serrano said. “It’s hard to pay for college and worry about what you’re going to do after college.”

Sarah Gilmore, a junior psychology and pre-med student from Mansfield, said a college education is absolutely necessary to achieve her goals of becoming a doctor. She said she has seen firsthand the consequences of not having a degree in a particular field.

“Some of my family members don’t have a bachelor’s degree,” Gilmore said, “and they struggle to find jobs.”

International relations student, Cedric Nikiema, said he isn’t worried about what he’s going to do after college. He’s from West Africa and said he chose to come to Kent State because he knows when he goes back to his country, he’ll have a good chance of getting a job with a four-year degree.


Adam Harder briefs on whether students think the value of a four-year degree has changed.

According to an article by John Hechinger examining a recent poll conducted by the Pew Research Center, “Seventy-five percent of U.S. adults said college was unaffordable for most Americans” but “at the same time, 86 percent of college graduates said that it had been a good investment for them personally.”

The study went on to explain that college graduates reported earning $20,000 more a year than their peers who do not have a four-year degree.

Roslynn Porch, a managerial marketing major, said she believes her four-year degree is a necessity.

“I believe it is a huge value to have a four-year degree,” Porch said. “Having a high school diploma doesn’t really get you anything anymore.”

Devon Roach, a sophomore, said he thinks a four-year degree is the standard now. He said even for working a manual labor job, having a degree still helps people earn more money.

“You damn near need a bachelor’s degree to cook a burger,” Roach said.

Reporting contributed by Matthew Rauch, Adam Harder, Morgan Wright and Ozie Ikuenobe.