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Was your college degree worth the cost? Depends on how you’re paying for it.

Members of the New England College of Business graduating class of 2014 receive their diplomas during commencement in Boston. (Gretchen Ertl/AP)

Do you feel like your college degree was worth the money you paid for it?

The answer probably depends on how you paid for it. If you’re swimming in debt, your answer is more likely “no,” according to a new study.

That was one takeaway in a recent survey of millennials done by the Federal Reserve Board’s Division of Consumer and Community Affairs. People were asked if they thought the lifetime benefits of their latest postsecondary educational program outweighed the cost. Overall, 41 percent said their education was worth more than the cost of the program, and 23 percent said it was worth less.

People who received financial help from scholarships and grants, or who were paying for their degrees in cash, were more likely to give their education a higher value. Those who took out loans to pay for school were more likely to say their degree was worth less than the price.

The group surveyed 2,097 people between ages 18 and 30 last December. Ten percent of the respondents had less than a high school education, 29 percent finished high school, 29 percent had some college experience, 9 percent had an associate’s degree and 21 percent had a bachelor’s degree or higher. Of those, 32 percent were students.

Not surprisingly, students and graduates also valued their degrees based on the jobs they had. Those with jobs and who were working in careers related to what they studied were more likely to say their degrees had more value. They were also more likely to have stability in their jobs. Overall, 42 percent of the respondents who were working said they had jobs related to what they studied in school.

It’s not news that millennials, who launched their careers in the midst of an economic recession and recovery, are more likely than previous generations to feel overeducated and underemployed. The high rate of under- and unemployment seen by younger workers inspired the Fed to conduct the survey in the first place. And it’s been enough to make policymakers, parents and teachers  stress the importance of making sure they are choosing a major that has a good chance of leading to a job.

Of course, there’s more to college than getting a job, but finding paid work is top of mind for many students. Forty-four percent of people who were interested in going to college said they were worried about not finding a job after they finished.

The report also pointed out something supported by other studies: The more schooling people get, the more likely they are to have a job and to be working in the field they learned about in school.

What do you think? Is your degree worth what you paid for it? Take our poll:

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