These College Majors Are the Least Likely to Be Saddled with Student Debt

Fifty percent of students graduate with student debt, but a recent survey shows some degrees seem to carry little to no debt.
Text books in a university classroom

College is a time for learning more about the world and your place within it—and, increasingly, it marks the first time you’ll take on debt. If you're like most borrowers, you'll graduate with more than $30,000 of debt, and that number will follow you well after you graduate college. But it turns out, not all degrees are equal. According to a recent survey from Ernst & Young, the degree you choose could have a big impact on the amount of debt you carry with you across the stage at graduation.

College majors least likely to come with student debt

One in two millennials is currently carrying or plans to take on student loan debt, but whether you'll have debt could depend on the degree you choose. According to the survey, which polled 1,202 millennials (aged 20 to 36), business majors are the least likely to carry debt with them beyond college, with just 44% of respondents reporting that they currently have or are planning to take on student debt.

Business majors are the least likely to have student debt

College majors most likely to come with student debt

While the image of the starving artist is terribly clichéd, it seems survey respondents who major in humanities will be graduating college at a disadvantage compared to other majors. According to the report, 64% of tomorrow's poets, historians and fine artists will graduate with student debt.

After the humanities, STEM majors (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) are the next most likely to graduate with debt. But despite 58% of STEM majors carrying or planning to take on debt, they're also the most likely to believe college is worth it. Sixty-eight percent of STEM majors believe their degrees were worth the financial cost, compared to 63% of humanities and business majors.

STEM majors are the most likely to believe their college education was worth the cost

The rest of millennials are less optimistic about the value of their degrees, and they're not convinced they'll have good job prospects, either. Seven out of 10 millennials are currently worried about future job opportunities, while just 46% are concerned about their ability to pay back student loans. If anything, the survey serves as a reminder to carefully think through the type of career your degree will prepare you for if you want to have good job prospects after graduation.

Daniel Caughill

Daniel is a former Staff Writer at ValuePenguin, covering insurance, retirement and other personal finance topics. He previously wrote about compliance and best practices for K-12 school districts at Frontline Education.

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