Though we weren't always this way, back when we did the job thing, house thing, car payment and credit card thing...today we live cash only in our motorhome life.
So what does that have to do with college being worth the money? A lot, actually. With our degrees and decent jobs, we felt the economy collapsing before leaving our conventional lives behind in 2009. Food, utilities, insurance and gasoline costs kept going up and up, while our salaries remained quite steady. We knew something was dreadfully wrong, felt the middle class getting squeezed out - and knew the time to run was now, while we still could.
From that moment forward, we committed to living cash only. No debt. Owe no one nothing. Pay for only what we could afford. This is our belief system - so how can I tell my daughter in good conscience to start her life with a heavy debt load, and no guarantee of it doing anything for her? I wouldn't even tell her to buy a house right now, and that could potentially be an investment if the US doesn't completely disintegrate economically...though doubtful. But to tell her "just go get that degree, make us proud and...then what? Come move back in with us once you graduate?"
If I were to ever owe anyone again, it would be for something of value - something I know what I can expect getting from the "debt." A degree doesn't guarantee financial security anymore. Of course, some pursue a degree to follow their passions - but many pursue degrees for perceived financial security. In our opinion, if you live more simply and buy only what you can afford - what you need, not want - then you can be "secure" even without a college degree.
We think of "wealth" as what is left over after everything is paid off. If you don't own your home, you aren't actually secure...it could be lost if catastrophe hits you, like losing a job. Security to us is knowing everything is ours and that we have bills totaling only hundreds per month, that we pay without sweating about it.