Considering the Pros and Cons of College

adults teens young adults

 There is no argument that college offers education, opportunity, and experience. With the rising cost of tuition and the dysfunctional relationship involving colleges, the government, and student debt, you have to question the traditional college path.

The Cost

The cost of college includes tuition, fees, room and board, textbooks, and other miscellaneous expenses. Research the costs. Start with an average. Here are some examples.

Bachelors Degree $100,000

Masters Degree $60,000

How much can your parents pay? Will you get some scholarships? Will you take out loans?

Future Earnings

It's crucial to realistically assess the earning potential in your chosen field. Research the average salary for entry-level positions in your field of study to gauge whether it aligns with your financial expectations and the costs of your education. Education is priceless. It will further your life and enrich you. There is more to life than work. However, most common, is the incentive to get a job with this degree. So you need to evaluate that.

The colleges will not tell you the whole truth here. They just need you to pay the tuition. The rest is your problem. 

Loan Payments

It's crucial to be aware of the long-term impact on your finances. Use online calculators to estimate your monthly loan payments based on the amount borrowed, interest rates, and repayment terms. This will give you a realistic view of your financial obligations post-graduation.

For Example; Let's assume that you are extremely lucky and that your parents are paying half of the cost. That leaves you responsible for.

Bachelors Degree $50,000

at 6.8% interest = 

Repayment: $575.40/month for 10 Years
Total Interest: $19,048.20
Total Payments: $69,048.20

Repayment: $381.67/month for 20 years
Total Interest: $41,600.74
Total Payments: $91,600.74

Repayment: $325.96/month for 30 Years
Total Interest: $67,346.53
Total Payments: $117,346.53

Masters Degree $50,000 + $30,000 = $80,000

at 6.8% interest = 

Repayment: $920.64/month for 10 Years
Total Interest: $30,477.12
Total Payments: $110,477.12

Repayment: $610.67/month for 20 Years
Total Interest: $66,561.19
Total Payments: $146,561.19

Repayment: $521.54/month for 30 Years
Total Interest: $107,754.45
Total Payments: $187,754.45

It's pretty damn expensive to borrow all that money right? Did you look closely at those interest amounts?

Create a Monthly Budget

Building a realistic monthly budget is a key component of successful financial planning for college and beyond. Let's assume you are in high school and live with Mom and Dad. But you want to live on your own someday. So you need to consider

  • Income
  • Rent
  • Food
  • Bills
  • Transportation
  • Fun

Save some time and check out this great Living Wage Calculator by MIT.

Options

After seeing the cost of the traditional 4 and 6 year degree you can exercise that imagination and get creative. Here are some options to consider.

  • Take online courses
  • Pay in-state tuition
  • Go to a certificate program or Code Training boot camp instead
  • Consider a trade and vocational school
  • Look at local trade school options
  • Go to college for 1 year and see if the price is worth it
  • Are you eligible for free tuition programs through your parent's work
  • Is there a job you could take that pays for tuition?
  • Do you want to be a business owner

More and more these days there are endless options out there for making money and living your life. A traditional 4-year college is not the only option.

Conclusion

Just because your parents did it, doesn't mean you have to. They probably paid a fraction of the cost. Ask them what loans they had. This is just a starting point to make you think. College planning is a multifaceted process that goes beyond choosing a major and deciding on a school. It involves understanding the financial landscape, weighing the costs against potential earnings, and making informed decisions that align with your career goals. By considering the job market, calculating loan payments, and creating a realistic budget, you'll be better equipped to navigate the challenges of financing your education and setting the foundation for a successful future. Remember, thoughtful planning today can lead to a more secure and fulfilling tomorrow. By thinking ahead about all these things you are ahead of the pack. Good Luck!

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