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The Real Value of College

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The editors at Best Value Schools decided to research the topic of:

The Real Value of College

What is your money buying (other than a degree)?


- In 2010, the average yearly cost for a 4-year institution was $21,657 (includes tuition, room and board)
- An average of 2,350,000 students enroll in college each year
- 775,000 males
- 1,575,000 females
- The average college student:
- Gets 2 parking tickets per year
- Skips class 26 times per year
- Budgets $2,800 for food and beverages per year

Friendships and social life

- Most people establish lifelong friendships between the ages of 15 and 25
- How people meet:
- orientation
- dorms
- About 40% of full-time students at public schools live on campus
- About 64% of full-time student at private schools live on campus
- Living in close quarters helps prepare students for living with a girlfriend, boyfriend or spouse
- class
- parties
- Average number of parties students attend per year = 62
- campus organizations
- An average of 1,125,000 students attend Spring Break each year
- Average of 88,750 college students are arrested on Spring Break each year
- 934 - average number of miles traveled to get to Spring Break


- (According to a 2008 report) 14% of people meet their spouse in college
- 18% meet at work
- 35% meet online (survey from 2005-2012)
- Average of 42,500 college student marriages each year
- Average of 2,750 college student divorces each year

Greek life

- Universities across the country reported an average of
- 8.1% of undergraduate males participate in Greek life (2011)
- Close to 9% undergraduate females participate in Greek life (2011)
- 71% of all Greek members graduate
- Only 50% of non-members graduate
- The all-fraternity and sorority GPA is higher than the overall collegiate GPA
- All but two presidents since 1825 have been fraternity members
- 85% of Fortune 500 key executives are fraternity or sorority members
- Strongly encourage ideals of sisterhood & brotherhood, scholarship, philanthropy and becoming better citizens


- Number of foreign students enrolled in US colleges
- 764,495 in 2010-2011
- 194,029 from China
- 34,139 from Saudi Arabia
- Number of people who study abroad
- 273,996 in 2010-2011
- 14% of undergraduate students said they studied abroad by the time they graduated
- United Kingdom is the most common destination
- Italy and Spain are also common destinations
- Number of students traveling to India and South Korea has seen the largest percentage rise in US student enrollment
- Number of students travelling to Mexico dropped after the US State Department issued travel warnings
- Enrollment fell 42%
- Number of students travelling to Japan also dropped in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami in March 2011
- Enrollment fell 33%

Exposure to new ideas

- Studies find that, on average, college students' political views shift to the left
- This falls in line with the shift found in most Americans ages 18-24
- Colleges and universities reported nearly 1,500 majors in 2010
- New majors are added to stay competitive and current
- Examples of those added in the past 10 years
- Homeland security and global studies
- Cyberforensics
- Agroecology
- 80% of college-bound students have yet to pick a major
- 50% of college students change their major before they graduate
- Many of them change their majors 3-5 times

Other valuable things people learn in college

- How to sleep anywhere
- How to eat ramen every day
- How to avoid solicitors on the sidewalk
- How to find free food on any given day
- How to function on minimal sleep
- How to write a research paper the night before it's due
- How to Macgyver any household problem
- How to live with roommates