PayScale Research Shows Graduates Today Feel Increased Financial Stress from High Student Debt and Stagnant Wages

Two-thirds of employees with advanced degrees reported feeling regrets about their college choices with student loans topping the list

SEATTLE, June 25, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, PayScale, Inc., the leader in modern compensation data and software, released new research on the Biggest College Regrets which reflects the main regrets related to college after students graduate. Overall, financial implications topped the list with “student loans” cited as the top regret, followed by “area of study” ranking second, particularly for those graduates who choose a major with lower income potential. One exception was those who graduated with an education degree. Despite employees in the education field typically earning less income, they reported having fewer regrets about the major they chose, indicating the profession provides a high level of satisfaction which may overcome the strain of a smaller paycheck.

“Our research shows the student debt crisis is impacting today’s graduates in a very real way. Not only are they struggling with the burden of student loans to pay for the rising costs of education, but they are then also faced with stagnant wages when they enter the workforce because pay for jobs in many areas of study has not kept pace with inflation,” said PayScale director, Wendy Brown. “While the experience of going to college is a cultural ideal for most people, the cold realities of cost and income are making many of these graduates regret some of their basic decisions about college.”

Here are some additional findings from PayScale’s Biggest College Regrets research:

  • Two-thirds have some regret about college – Sixty-six percent of respondents reported they experienced at least one regret related to their college choices and experience.
  • Student loans topped the list of regrets – When asked what they regretted most about college, the most common response by far was student loans (27 percent).
  • Education graduates are less regretful – Although education is not typically a high paying employment sector, respondents from this area of study were the second most likely to say they had no regrets, after engineering graduates.
  • Millennials more likely to feel burden of student loan – With the cost of an advanced degree skyrocketing in recent years, Millennials were twice as likely as Baby Boomers to cite loans as a college regret (29 percent compared to just 13 percent for older generations).

This research shows that deciding which college to attend and which major to study can have lasting implications for most people, long past their actual college years. To view the more findings from the Biggest College Regrets research, please visit:

About PayScale
PayScale offers modern compensation software and the most precise, real-time, data-driven insights for employees and employers alike. More than 8,000 customers, from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies, use PayScale to power pay decisions for more than 23 million employees. These companies include Encana, Patagonia, The New York Times, Sunsweet, T-Mobile, United Health Group, Wendy's and Perry Ellis. For more information, please visit: or follow PayScale on Twitter:

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