15 June 2013

Is College Worth the Expense?

When a former United States Secretary of Education questions the value of a College education, people take notice and start talking. This is exactly the question posed by William Bennett and David Wilezol in their new book, “Is College Worth It? A Former United States Secretary of Education and Liberal Arts Graduate Expose The Broken Promise of Higher Education. “

Bennett and Wilezol both agree that College is definitely worth it, but it’s not for everyone. The authors’ cite the cost of a quality education as well as the 50% unemployment rate for 2011 graduates. Similarly, Peter Thiel, one of the original investors of Facebook, believes that too many colleges are churning out more College graduates than our economy can handle.

The statistics are upsetting. A recent study showed that 45 percent of College graduates could not think or reason critically on complex issues. In addition, the study found that they did not learn any worthwhile writing skills in their first two years of their College education.

There is no doubt that the cost of  College education is a cause for concern. Students are burdened with heavy student loans and the default rate on these educational loans is greater than ever. And the cost of education rises every year. Cost of a college education is increased 1100% since 1978. Today, one out of ten students will graduate with a student loan of $40,000 or more.

So, how can parents and prospective College students make the best decision as to whether College is right for them and how can they best minimize College costs and maximize their employability at the end of their College career?

Students should make a firm commitment to attend class and complete their degree on time
The statistics of Student loan default rates and excessive Student loan amounts are skewed as a result of Students that do not take their college career seriously and have not given serious consideration to whether they should have started College in the first place. Twenty nine percent of all students who take on student loans eventually drop out. This percentage has grown 25% in the last decade.

Less than 40% of College students graduate in four years. Fifty three percent of all Students graduate in 6 years. The extra two years in College substantially increases students’ total student loan amounts. A commitment and schedule, on the student’s part, to graduate on time would not only decrease a student’s overall loan amount, but would also mean that the student has a higher likelihood of graduating college since they will be closer to their goal.

Choose a degree plan that will serve you well into the future
We live in a different world today. With technology and the internet changing our lives daily, students should consider where the world will be in 10-20 years in deciding on their degree plan. There was a time when a student could simply study liberal arts and she would be sure to find a job. Now, with an abundance of unemployed graduates, a student should give considerable thought to her career plan.

A highly thought out degree plan will also serve to lower a student’s overall cost of education. Switching majors while in college can add years to a student’s eventual graduation date.

College is a costly commitment. Treat it as one.
Similar to a house or car, a college education is a costly expense. And just as you have to maintain a house or car, students should make a similar commitment to put the extra effort into their college education. Student should take classes that not only will allow them to graduate but also to learn things that will help them in their later career and life.

Students should also regularly attend class. After all, they are paying for this privilege. Students who are only looking to get that degree at the end will, at best, only have that degree. Students who put their heart and soul into college will come out of college a well-rounded individual who will be sought after by future employers.

A College education is still very much a worthwhile goal in 2013 as long as both parents and students sit down and establish long term academic goals. Costs can very much be minimized utilizing these goals. And with these goals in place, a student will be an employable asset for the rest of her working career.

Kimberly Lawson. Kimberly Lawson is the director of marketing at www.Boostapal.com.  Boostapal is a website where teenagers earn money when their family does their everyday shopping online.


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