It's a question some of the 9,000 or so students who will begin classes at Jacksonville State University on Wednesday will probably ask themselves this week.
The folks at CollegeToolkit.com have some answers.
They polled their Web site's users on what college means to them. Here's what they found:
52% - An Investment in My Future
22% - An Opportunity to Learn
16% - Necessary to Get a Job
6% - 4-6 Years of Fun
4% - Freedom from My Parents
2% - A Great Way to Meet Girls / Guys
"The cost of college continues to push higher and higher. College graduates are leaving with more and more student loan debt. It only makes sense that young adults are beginning to view college in cold, hard financial terms of 'investment and return.'" CollegeToolkit.com president Mark Rothbaum said.