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Is College Worth It?

Debate is growing over a question that turns conventional wisdom on its head - does going to college pay? Or is higher education overrated -- at least from a financial standpoint?

Various statistics show that the cost of college has increased roughly 25 percent over the past decade.

The average four-year tuition at a public university is $56,000, and for a private school, it's $140,000.

And if you need to borrow any of that money, the news only gets worse.

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Americans are carrying close to $830 billion in student loan debt. That's more than the national credit card debt load.

Factor in a record unemployment rate of nearly five per cent among those with a college degree, and it's no surprise that many experts and families are starting to wonder - is going to college worth it? Does the extra income college grads make over a lifetime justify the cost and debt associated with college?

"The Early Show" assembled a panel of experts to discuss the question

"Early Show" financial adviser Ray Martin, child and adolescent psychologist and "Early Show" contributor Dr. Jennifer Hartstein, and career expert Nicole Williams, author of "Girl on Top," offered their thoughts:

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