If you have college-bound kids, or you’re a graduate yourself, no doubt you’ve noticed how expensive college can be. A 2016 article by Independentlisted seven of the most expensive college degrees in the world. Two programs in particular boasted costs just over $200,000 and those weren’t even for Masters or Doctorates. Those were Bachelor degree programs. Obviously, these are not the norm. The point is that it costs a lot of money to get a formal education. Is it a worthwhile endeavor, though? Let’s look at some numbers and extrapolate a little.
When talking college, there’s a fancy word called tuition. Tuition refers to the amount paid annually to an institution of higher education. According to US News,the 2019-2020 year will cost on average $10,116 for a public college, and $36,801 for a private college. Assuming you or a child of yours is going for a Bachelor’s degree, that’s a four-year commitment. Let’s do some math.
Cost of a Public College Bachelor’s Degree: $10,116 x 4 = $40,464
Cost of a Private College Bachelor’s Degree: $36,801 x 4 = $147,204
The numbers speak for themselves. College is expensive. Now, there is such a thing as FAFSA where you can qualify for grants and loans to help pay for school. Grants are great because it’s money you never have to pay back. They just cover a part of tuition. Loans are fine to get you through the rest of the financial hurdle, but they still need to be paid off.
There’s this idea that people go to college to get a career in their field of study. People spend years mastering a very specific subject, like mechanical engineering, theatre, or economics. But do people really use these degrees? In 2018 CNBC cited a report by Strada Institute for the Future of Work and Burning Glass Technologies, which stated that 40% of college graduates take jobs that have no degree requirement. About 20 million people enroll in college every year. That’s 8 million students not using the degrees earned. The same article reports that after of decade of being out of school, 1 in 5 graduates still isn’t working a degree-specific job.
Plan! Plan! Plan! College is a great experience, but very costly. Don’t enter it flippantly. Have goals set that you can achieve. If you’re going to spend that much money, you might as well get that job you always wanted from it.