College Education


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How College Education is Different for Millennials and Generation X


Generation X refers to people born between 1965 and 1980, while millennials are individuals born between 1981 and 1996. Compared to their parents, the lives that millennials lead are entirely different from those their parents lived when they were their age. The college experiences have changed drastically over the years. It is no secret that current generations are more learned than all other preceding generations of people with the number of young adults holding a bachelor’s degree rising steadily from 1968. This text discusses the differences in education experience between millennials and generation X as regards the cost, diversity, religiousness and technological advancements.

College Education is More Expensive Today

One of the ways in which college education differs for generation X and millenials is that it is more costly than it was a few decades ago, between 1965 and 1980. According to statistics, the cost of college tuition has doubled in number since the 1980s. Worth noting, between the 1980s and 2018 academic year, the cost of attaining an undergraduate degree increased by 213% in public schools to adjust for inflation. Additionally, the annual public tuition fees were $1 490 compared to today’s exorbitant price of $9,970. When adjusted for inflation, private tuitions saw a 129% increase in tuition fees for the same period. On the other hand, during the 1980s, a private undergraduate degree costs $7 050 and equivalent of $15 160 in today’s currency. On the contrary, its costs an average of $34 740 to complete a Bachelor’s degree today. As a matter of fact, college education in the States is expensive to the extent that federal and local governments finance it. The majority of students who take up student loans to finance their college education graduate with student loans amounting to up to 40,000 dollars which they repay once they have graduated and found employment.

College Education for Millennials is More Technologically Advanced.

Secondly, another difference is that the current college education is more technologically advanced than that generation X experienced. Millennials enjoy great benefits of technology, such as the use of laptops, iPods, and mobile devices, which their parents never enjoyed because there was no internet at the time. Although electronic gadgets have made learning easier and convenient, they have their downside too because they distract students. The college education experience for millennials has completely revolutionized because if they happen to miss a class, most lectures provide them with recorded lectures (Enam and Karthik, 70). Additionally, desktops and typewriters have been replaced with laptops which they use to take notes in class. Furthermore, millennials are in a better position than generation X because they use computers instead of writing notes manually. Students also rate professors online and use social media to stay connected to each other. These are privileges that generation X individuals could not enjoy because back them technology was not as advanced as it is today.

Increased Ethnic and Culturally Diverse Student Population.

Diversity is the third factor that shows how different the college experiences for millennials were from those of their parents. Statistics drastically suggest that since 1970, the student population in colleges has transformed. 2018, a student research project carried out by Chegg, a renowned educational company, found a minority enrollment of 42% compared to 15% in 1970. This is after sampling a population of 1,000 students. It’s worth noting that females comprise more than 50% of the total student population compared to 1970 when they less than half. Moreover, millennials are also attending colleges while they are a bit older than before. Currently, 40% of millennial student populations are more than 25 years old in comparison to 28 years during the previous years.

Millennials are Not As Religious as Generation X

Religion is another aspect that shows the differences between college education between millenials and generation X. The Huffington Post posits that the number of college first years that do not identify with religion has risen from 16% in 2005 to 15% in 2014 (Kurz, Geng, and Daniel, 194). The research cited the University of California’s Cooperative Institutional Research programs, which surveyed over 150,000 full-time first-year students in over 200 universities and colleges. Additionally, the number of students in catholic colleges that do not identify with any religion rose by over 4% during the period in review. Moreover, the percentage of college students that do not associate with religion in religious institutions also rose. This is contrary to generation X, who were more religious than millennials.


In closing, the college experiences of generation X is very different from that of millennial. The cost of a college education has increased over the years, and college students’ composition has become more diverse. Moreover, Millennials are lucky as they currently employ technology in their learning, which generation X did not encounter because back- technology was not as advanced as today. Further, millennials are less religious than their generation X counterparts. Both generations had unique experiences in college education and while some are negative majority are positive.

Works Cited

Enam, Annesha, and Karthik C. Konduri. “Time allocation behavior of twentieth-century American generations: GI generation, silent generation, baby boomers, generation X, and millennials.” Transportation Research Record 2672.49 (2018): 69-80.

Kurz, Christopher J., Geng Li, and Daniel J. Vine. “Are millennials different?.” Handbook of US consumer economics. Academic Press, 2019. 193-232.