The cost of a college degree: Getting more out of your education without putting yourself in debt
Author: Marcia Page
High unemployment rates and recent talk of the possibility of a student loan crisis has many asking the same question: Is a college degree actually worth the amount of debt you incur to study?
And while it’s difficult to put a “price” on a degree, the simple answer is, yes. A college education is no doubt worth the time and money you invest, and so much more. Statistics still show that those with a college degree earn about $1 million more over the course of their careers compared to those with just a high school diploma.
At the same time, students going into college need to be realistic about how much a university education will cost them. They need to also be aware of the strings that come attached with student loans and avoid certain pitfalls that will make their education cost far more than necessary.
Here are a few things for students to consider as they begin to pursue higher education.
1. Shop around for schools. When making a big-ticket purchase (such as a car) most people don’t buy the first one they see. Students should take the same “buyers” approach when deciding on a school and compare what the school has to offer both academically and financially before making a decision. Students should be aware that there are different types of schools with different price tags attached to them. Also, students should recognize that they don’t necessarily need the $50,000 a year private school just to get a good education–there are plenty of public universities that can offer the same opportunities. Staying in-state can provide better tuition rates. Students can further cut education costs by attending a two-year community college immediately after high school and then transferring those credits to a four-year university for their final two years of coursework — they receive the benefit of the four-year degree from the major university, but only have to pay two years worth of higher tuition.
Check back Next week for my tip on is a college education worth the debt pt. 2
Students if you have not applied for FAFSA/TASFA, it is URGENT that you do so now! There is no need to wait until last minute, first come first served. Go visit your counselor or Education is Freedom Advisor to help you fill out the FAFSA/TASFA application.
Also it is not too late to apply for scholarships. There are many out there, don’t stay behind and take action. Make sure to read the criteria and see if you are eligible.
The following are several scholarships available:
Great Lakes National Scholarship Program
Dallas School Administrators Association Scholarship
Make sure to check with your counselors or Education is Freedom Advisor for scholarships that you may be eligible for.
Janet Gonzales & Joel Cana
EIF, Higher Education Advisors
For seniors the time is now. For juniors, the time is close. For sophomores and freshmen, the time is around the corner. How will you help your child make their decisions about higher education? As parents and guardians, you are the greatest influence in your child’s life. Going to college is one of the most important decisions that your child will make as a young adult. It goes without saying; they WILL need your help.
Making a college choice can be very involved. One of the most important aspects of making that choice includes finances; which is a subject that bewilders many teenagers. Talk to your student about the cost of college and help them understand which schools are affordable. Money to cover tuition, books, room and board can be covered with a variety of options: money from you their parents and guardians, work-study programs and / or financial aid including scholarships, grants and student loans. Also, encourage students to do in-depth research and take college trips to help them understand the college going process and to find a college that is a perfect fit for them academically and socially. It’s never too early to start!
Sending a child off to college can be easy with the right support and guidance. If you feel overwhelmed by the whole process, first stay the course with your support, but seek help from people that are knowledgeable about the process. Talk to family and friends that have been to college, or set up a meeting with your student’s EIF higher education advisor or school guidance counselor.
I have provided a few tips here, so now, how will you help your child with the higher education process? If you have additional tips to share, let me hear back from you on Facebook or Twitter!
It’s tax time! For many families this can be a stressful time of the year and the urge to wait until April 15th to file is great. However, if you have a child in college or a child that will be entering college this fall, please resist that urge! It is critical that college students and soon to be college students complete their FAFSA (Federal Application for Student Aid) early. This means that parents must bite the bullet and get their taxes completed as soon as possible.
Submitting a FAFSA early will give your child the best chance to get the maximum amount of financial aid possible. The longer a student waits, the higher the chances that they will not receive the entire amount of aide that they are eligible for. It is good practice to remember that the distributions of federal and state grants are not guaranteed; it is a first come first served process. Even if a family is not eligible for grants, it is advised that ALL students complete the FAFSA because many scholarships require it and the government requires it for student loans. So, let’s get moving this tax season. Help your student by giving them the best chance to receive as much financial aid as they qualify for.
If you need help taking the stress out of filing your taxes, the United Way is offering the service of trained tax preparers for people that make less than $50,000. For more information and to find a convenient location near you: visit UnitedWayDallas.org/EKS, text REFUND to 27138 or call 214-978-0081.
Senior Higher Education Advisor
Wilmer-Hutchins High School
Welcome to my new Blog, a dialog about education…the challenges, the triumphs, what’s new and next!
As President and CEO of Education is Freedom (EIF), I am always thinking about the important work of getting our students to graduate from high school, fully prepared to get into an institution of higher learning and to succeed in college. The ideal of going to college sounds rather simple on the surface, so many of us take for granted that everyone can and would go to college if they “just” had drive and ambition. But, what I know first-hand is that the road to success in college is far more difficult.
In fact, according research, without the necessary skills and support, an “A” student is just as likely as a “D” student to drop out of college. Did you know this? Until recently, it was news to me too. I want to use this platform to share the facts behind truths like this, to share enlightening stories about EIF students (we have many success stories to inspire) and to converse with you on the key issues of the day related to education.
Please read my Blog and as important, please share your thoughts too. It’s a dialog, but that only works if all the parties engage in the discussion.