All Articles Tagged "college planning"
Jobs are scarce and student loan debt is putting many college grads in a financial bind. As a result, many people are questioning whether a college education is worth the time and expense that so many people are investing in it.
Earlier this week, we offered some basic advice for how to get the most out of the financial aid offered by the federal government. In that story, we included this important comment from BusinessWeek: “Many students are incurring heavy debts for an education (ethnomusicology, theater arts) that just isn’t worth it from a strictly financial viewpoint.”
This topic is tackled further in this week’s issue of Newsweek. To be clear, the article says that a college education is very much a valuable investment.
“College graduates now make 80 percent more than people who have only a high-school diploma, and though there are no precise estimates, the wage premium for an elite school seems to be even higher,” the article reads. Like the BusinessWeek story, the Newsweek article makes distinctions between majors and how exactly students spend their four years in school. (The article frowns upon beer pong.)
But more than that, the article takes a look at the rising cost of school and how that is impacting the ability to pay back those student loans. Schools are now investing in nicer dorms, more faculty and administrators, and other perks and features that are meant to attract students. But those bells and whistles drive up the cost of operating a school. That cost is passed down, of course, to the student. If the price of school goes up, the amount one has to borrow goes up, which means you’re on the hook for more after graduation.
“Just as homeowners took out equity loans to buy themselves spa bathrooms and chef’s kitchens and told themselves that they were really building value with every borrowed dollar, today’s college students can buy themselves a four-year vacation in an increasingly well-upholstered resort, and everyone congratulates them for investing in themselves,” the article says.
More than that, many students are going to a particular school because of how it looks on their resume.
“That debate matters a lot, because while the value of an education can be very high, the value of a credential is strictly limited,” the story continues.
In other words, give some deep thought to what you’re going to school for. Ultimately, it should be for the education you’re going to get. And that education comes not just from the institution, but from the effort that the student puts into the work.
Start saving your money early, and take steps to keep college costs at a manageable level. That could mean going to a two-year college then transferring to a four-year institution. Or going to a state school instead of a private one. Or one closer to home to save on housing expenses.
The point is, know what you want to get from your education and take steps toward that goal. You’ll be rewarded with a salary that will allow you to pay any debts you might have incurred.