By Jillian Stanphill, Business Writer

While campus life presents plenty of distractions, it’s difficult to forget the high price of an education at  Pacific Lutheran University.  This pondering is quickly followed by the ever-looming, “Is it worth it?” as the dread of loans, hours of work and fear of the future comes to mind.

These questions are not only at the forefront of students minds, but educators themselves. is a website database that collects information from thousands of universities nationwide to categorize degree and major worth. Numbers may vary with the frequency that schools submit information, but one can get a general idea of how much they have/will spend compared to what their particular degree is worth, by state.

Dwoskin, a writer for Bloomberg BusinessWeek Politics and Policy, followed College Measures and the support of the state of Virginia, as legislation has been proposed to make a federal database, similar to College Measures, available to the public, with updated information for every private and public university in the country. It hasn’t been voted for yet, but the acknowledgement of the worth of that information is there.

Pacific Lutheran’s tuition has been raised for the coming school year, 2014-2015, to $36,180 for a full year. Let’s assume that a student will pay around $144,720 for a degree earned in four years from PLU. From this data, and own personal circumstances (loans, scholarship, financial aid), one can begin to estimate the amount needed to even out financially upon completion of a degree.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) released its 2013 Salary Survey in January 2014. This document offers a breakdown of the Top-Paying and Top-Hiring Industries, as well as Salary Ranges for each individual Bachelor and Master’s degree. This data illustrates the specific industries that desire certain majors and gives up to date information on what the class of 2013 accomplished, career-wise so that you have the most relevant information to what may happen after earning a diploma.

By focusing in on those questions, take the next step and do some research that may help you breathe easier or may encourage you  to work harder, earn internships and diversify your resume. There will be a need for someone with your degree. Upon graduation and job search time, be fully invested in your capability to be the person needed to fill the job you want to lead to a career.

PLU encourages thoughts about vocation, but vocation is applicable to this. Find your passion and don’t fit the economy and job market to do so, let the data help lead you to a lifelong, happiness filled career that says, “Yes, my degree was worth it”.

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