Millennials value college education more than older generations

Millennials may be spending more for college and accumulating more debt than older generations, but the younger group still has a more positive outlook about higher education, according to a new survey.

The survey of 500 college graduates by Credit Sesame, a consumer credit and personal finance company, compares the attitudes about higher education of millennials, people born between 1981 and 2004, and Gen X, people born between 1964 and 1980.

With tuition prices and college debt rising, the study found millennials are paying closer attention to their area of study. More than twice as many millennials, 33 percent compared with 14 percent of Gen X respondents, said salary was an important factor in selecting a major.

Student loan debt has reached $1.2 trillion nationally, with about 40 million Americans carrying college loans, according to credit monitoring corporation Experian. Georgia is home to 1.5 million federal student loan borrowers, accounting for $44.3 billion in outstanding federal student debt, according to White House data.

Despite the debt burden, 76 percent of millennials said college was worth the costs, compared to 68 percent of Gen X graduates.

Building on these results, Credit Sesame's partner company, Iontuition, unveiled a new college search engine this week helping parents and students compare the cost of college and salary after graduation. The new tool, ionMatch, allows users to review colleges and universities across the country based on various criteria, including degree type, field of study location and estimated post-graduation income.