Is a university degree worth it?

IMG_1983Our latest trip to Rathtrevor beach and camp ground in Parksville, BC

Is university worth it from a financial perspective?

What if you applied the same work and energy into university as you did into your working career from ages 19-23 or really any other age, would you come out ahead not going to university? That’s the question I’m going to explore in this post. 

Personally, I did go to university however, looking back I would have been financially independent at a younger age had I not gone to university. I graduated with a bachelors in science in nursing and obtained a job working with a local hospital as an RN. I started off by making about $34 an hour. Prior to graduating I worked as a care aid with the local hospital super part time while going to nursing school. As a care aid I made $24 an hour. 

So is that extra $10 an hour worth the 4 years of school and $40,000 in books and tuition? Is there another way to earn that extra $10 an hour or $1500 a month without getting a degree?

Let’s say you are able to live on a student budget and save $2500 a month over the next 4 years. Instead of putting time and energy in a  traditional 4 year university degree, put that same time and energy into working as much as you possibly can while living like a student to save at least $2500 a month (or more if you work your face off).

If you are able to save this $2500 would you come out ahead of the person who got the 4 year degree? Short answer is yes but, its fun to see why (at least for me). After 4 years of saving $2500 a month at 8% you will have $140,876.16. If you don’t withdraw this money and let’s say keep it in your RRSP and TFSA you can expect about $939 a month in tax free growth that continues to compound to massive amounts. 

Now the person with the 4 year degree graduates and makes an extra 1500 a month more than the non degree person. However, this person is in a higher tax bracket so this person will loose about 33% right off the top with out factoring in EI or CPP. So now they actually take home $1005 per month after taxes. Also assuming they were able to cover their living expenses with a part time job while going to school, the only debt/lost opportunity cost they should have incurred is the $40,000 in books and tuition. At a 6% interest rate on this student debt that would equate to $200 a month in interest payments. So now we have an actual take home pay of $805 a month compared to $939 a month from the non-university degree person.  Any raises received by the degree person would be outweighed by the compounding interest received from the investments of the non degree person. 

Another point to make is the non degree person will make this extra money regardless if they go to work or not as its truly passive income. In future posts I will discuss how simple it can be to get a job that pays well without a 4 year degree in BC, Canada. I will be  discussing how realistic it is to get at least an 8% return on your investments. I also think it is important to note there are other aspects to a 4 year degree besides the financial component. Furthermore, I plan to write about college hacking in BC and explore ways to reduce tuition costs.


Anyways, you decide is a university degree worth it anymore? Why or why not?




  1. I believe a university degree is worth the cost in most cases, but not a small percentage of people can live without a degree and get along just fine. I have watched both types of people reach their goals and survive financially.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your comment Jacqueline, I believe a university degree is worth it if it’s done right. For example getting an education for a specific career type and not going into debt for it. I recently wrote and article about how tuition is covered in BC if your are an independent person making less that $30,600 a year. Have a Great Wednesday!


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