Kelley Long, Contributor

Do you have a child approaching or in college? As more than 20 million college students head back to school this year, many will be making what is arguably the most important financial decision of their entire career before they even start: declaring their major. Granted, only about 20% of graduates take home the degree that they started on, but the sooner students gain clarity on this direction, the easier it will be to graduate in the standard 4 years and hopefully with minimal student loans. While 85% of people surveyed by Credit Karma feel like their education was a good investment, 70% are losing sleep over their student loans, which begs the question: is that education really worth it?

Holding a college degree or vocational/technical certificate is pretty much necessary these days in order to achieve other common American milestones such as buying a home, retiring comfortably at the age desired and living a life of low financial stress. Much is made of people like Steve Jobs and Richard Branson who made billions without college degrees, but part of the reason these are noteworthy stories is because they are the exception. At the end of the day, the major your child pursues is a key factor in whether or not college is worth it or at least whether taking out student loans is worth it.

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