As someone who is struggling to save up enough money to go on international travel, looking at job listings is so depressing. Before the 2008 financial crisis started, it used to be that most people only had their high school diplomas, and university degrees were uncommon. Now the opposite is true - most people are going on to post-secondary education. It just seems odd that when I go on job boards to look at the hiring companies that most entry-level (right out of high school) jobs I see (bookkeeping, computer programming, nuclear plant operator, etc.) paying around $40k to $80k per year require either a 2 or 4-year degree. Employers are going to prefer candidates with a degree than those without, with all else being equal because it is easy to find someone with a degree nowadays. If you want to be competitive in today's market, it's worth looking at a degree. This is one of the results of a high school diploma becoming academically and functionally meaningless. A 2 or 4-year degree is the new high school diploma. Let's be real, earning a degree doesn't prove you are smart or get freedom.