Is college worth the cost?

This is a rush transcript from "The Five," May 30, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

DANA PERINO, CO-HOST: Today, we're going to talk about something else, which is college and education. There's been this debate. We've actually had it on the debate over the last few months, which is a discussion about education policy in America, and whether or not every college should be the goal of everybody.

There are lots of different opinions on this. Robert Sandalson (ph) is a columnist said the largest mistake in education policy since World War II was this notion that everybody needs to go to college. That it has helped dumb down the college, itself, that it has undermined high schools and then you have to people that are graduating while the earning potential is larger throughout their life, they actually carry a lot more debt as well.

And Peter Thiel of PayPal was on "60 Minutes" a couple of weeks ago because he has this innovative thing if you agree not to go to college, he will give you $100,000 to work on your idea. Let's listen to him. Get people's opinion.


PETER THIEL, PAYPAL: The less goo colleges are like the sub prime lenders people are conned to thinking that this credential is the one thing you need to do better in life. They are actually not any better off after going to college. They're typically are worse off because they amassed all this debt.


PERINO: Bob, let's start with you. You three have children. Let's start with you, because you have one about to go to college.

And so, when your children were born, did you automatically think of course they're going to college? That was your dream and your goal for them?

BOB BECKEL, CO-HOST: Yes, sure. It took it out of my own experience. The reality now is, there is more student loan debt than credit card debt in this country combined, number one.

These kids are getting straddled with debts they can't pay. They get liberal arts degree to give them virtually no training to do anything, except for blow up balloons for something.

But I don't understand why -- when Obama says for example that jobs of the future, nursing, for example, is a critically job. My niece happens to be a nurse. She had to go through four years of liberal art school and then two years to get here --



BECKEL: She could have gone two years of liberal arts and two years of R.N.


BECKEL: I mean, you don't need to go to a college and build up $50,000 of debt --

PERINO: Well, and in some cases parents aren't getting what they paid for, or students are paying for it themselves, because, Eric, in the article from the "New York Post" today, tuition has quadrupled since 1980. So, are you getting what you paid for?

ERIC BOLLING, CO-HOST: I did research on this.

PERINO: You brought it.

BOLLING: No degree versus degree. Which do you want? Camera two.

OK. No degree over a lifetime on average, you earn $1.2 million. And if you save the $80,000, $20,000 per year, four years, if you save it and invested it, it would be worth 300 grand at the end of your career. Doubles a couple of times, plus a little bit, 1.5 million bucks.

With a degree, on average you earn $2.1 million. The degree pays off over the lifetime. Plus, if you have -- if you have an advanced degree add $1 million at least to that number.

So, by the numbers, you got to go to college.

PERINO: Kimberly and Andrea, before we run out of time get to you because would you -- if you were in a position to hire somebody and had a stack of resumes, do you think that you would you be more or less likely to put one aside of somebody who didn't have a four-year degree?

GUILFOYLE: I would look to see what their experience is. Maybe someone had a valuable or meaningful internship and better suited for the job. I like practical, real life experience. I wouldn't say just a degree.


ANDREA TANTAROS: Parents are spending $200,000 to have the child move back in his old room. Really, why would any university if administration now are coming out to say, we'll forgive student loan debt and making cheap credit available. Remember that is what happened in the mortgage bubble? Cheap, easy credit. Credit you don't pay back.

Why do universities keep the tuition rate? There is no incentive to.


BECKEL: I flunked every Latin class I was in, right? Every single one of them. They still make them take Latin. For what?

PERINO: It helps you understand the roots of words. You could read --

GUILFOYLE: So you can be on "Jeopardy!"

PERINO: Oh, yes. Oh, you had to bring it up!

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