Level of student debt burden, not choice of school, is the biggest predictor of a college graduate’s well-being.
Last year Gallup surveyed over 30,000 college graduates to learn how well they were doing.
… It asked graduates how they were doing across five different metrics, including financially, physically and socially. Eleven percent of graduates of public universities and private universities said they were “thriving” across all five. Twelve percent of graduates of U.S. News & World Report’s top 100 schools were thriving, essentially the same as the rest.
But student loans can cripple well-being.
The biggest predictor of whether a graduate wasn’t thriving was whether he or she had student loans. Fourteen percent of those without any debt said they were thriving, compared to 2 percent of those with more than $40,000 of debt. You can’t draw iron-clad conclusions from that, but those figures should be worrisome all the same for anyone thinking about taking on student loans.
Takeaway lessons: Going into debt to attend your “dream” school may be detrimental to your well-being. Private school may not be worth the extra money.
These are the five elements of well-being that were measured in the Gallup survey:
Purpose Well-Being: Liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals
Social Well-Being: Having strong and supportive relationships and love in your life
Financial Well-Being: Effectively managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security
Community Well-Being: The sense of engagement you have with the areas where you live,
liking where you live, and feeling safe and having pride in your community
Physical Well-Being: Having good health and enough energy to get things done on a daily basis