WILMINGTON – UNC Wilmington's campus is full of students working hard to prepare themselves for future success.
But with rising tuition costs and student loans topping $1 trillion, some students are considering skipping higher education altogether.
"It's a much harder decision now to make," said William Hall, professor of economics at UNCW. "There are a lot of reports out there saying that a bachelor's degree is probably not worth the investment that is required."
Last month the Department of Labor released information about the types of jobs that will have the largest number of job openings by 2020 including retail, fast food, and office clerks.
Of the 30 occupations listed, only three require a bachelor's degree or higher.
But Thom Rakes, director of student services at UNCW said while the stats may seem alarming, it's not new information.
"We don't need a lot of physicists," Rakes said. "There are only a few thousand physicists in the United States. There are millions of restaurant workers and it's always been true."
He said while college is expensive, it's even more costly in the long run to not pursue a degree.
"When you look at annual salary and you look at unemployment rate, the unemployment rate for college graduates has gone up, but it is still half what the unemployment rate is for folks who don't have a college degree," Rakes said.
Soon to be graduating senior Thor Morgan said he knows landing a job will not be easy, he is confident entering the job search with the skill set he gained in college.
"You can get those in high school, but not nearly as complete as you can in your college experience," Morgan said. "There are so many more opportunities to further those experiences and those skills in college."