Is College Still a Good Investment?


The High Cost of Higher Education

The cost of higher education has exploded in the last few decades and many high school graduates will have to decide if it’s really worth pursuing a college degree anymore. With rising education costs, more people are turning to alternative forms of education. Below is an infographic we made for a quick look at the rise in education costs. Below the infographic are some alternative ways forward and some questions you should ask yourself before making a decision about college.

Whats Your ROI?

When you are investing a large amount of your time and money, its always best to analyze your ROI  (return on investment) before entering into any agreement. Especially if that decision is a career choice that will have a huge impact on your life.

When figuring your ROI, be sure to include your time into the equation. Time is arguably one of our most overlooked and valuable commodity. Time can allow you to obtain more money, but money will never get you more time. Your time is finite and it should be treated as such. Never give it away to anything that’s not extremely worthwhile. So much can be accomplished with your time in the span of four years, so expend it wisely.

HSBC published a report that puts the average annual cost of college, including living expenses, at over $36,000 per year. That’s is almost $150,000 for a four year education. With that much time and money invested, if you do not land a great paying job with real opportunity for advancement after you graduate, your ROI is simply not there. And remember, this debt is forever, as per the Bankruptcy Abuse and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, no student loan can be discharged through bankruptcy, Federal or private.

How Much Debt Will You Incur?

The average debt that a student incurs for a four year college or university degree is over $25,000. That’s not including the interest rates that compound the debt for years to come. Like I just stated in the previous paragraph, the average cost for a four year college including living expenses is almost $150,000, and much of the debt you incur will depend on your choices and circumstances. The big question is: will you be able to service that debt if you do not get the job you were planning on or no job at all?

A College Degree Does Not Guarantee Employment

Having a four year degree is certainly not what it used to be. Recent studies show that a large percentage of college graduates are unemployed or underemployed and that seems to be the growing trend. Without the ability to declare bankruptcy to restructure your finances or defer any incurred debt, it can become a real problem. Also, in many fields of study, the exponential growth in information & technology is outpacing or way ahead of the classes being taught in colleges, making those skill-sets gained obsolete by the time you graduate. In fact, many industries are changing so rapidly it is difficult to predict what they will even look like in four years.

But College Is a  Great Experience

Now I realize that college is also a time to go out in the world and find your independence for many people, and that is certainly a fun and exciting experience, but just be sure you do not wind up with a ball and chain around your neck when the party is over. While college is a rite of passage for some, it can be a wasteful endeavor for others if they are not there for the right reasons.

We are in the midst of a profound technological, social, and cultural shift and the employment landscape is changing significantly. A job that is here today may be outsourced tomorrow. If you do not adapt to this new world we have entered, you could get left behind, living an existence that you may not be happy with.

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If you are a motivated and disciplined individual looking to enter the business world, spending four years in college may be a waste of your time. Many people are opting out of the high cost of higher education and choosing a different route. We are living in an age of highly accessible information. There are online courses for just about everything under the sun at price-points that wont put you in debt for years to come. That’s not including all the free information on the web at your disposal.

I probably learned more useful, relevant information on specific topics from YouTube and Google than I could ever have gotten from one teacher with limited knowledge and some textbooks. Now we can leverage the power of the internet and receive knowledge from millions of intelligent minds on the leading edge of their respective fields of expertise. Here is a very popular website that offers thousands of online courses called Udemy.

If you still wish to get degree but cannot afford it, you can get a college degree online at a fraction of the cost. An online degree may not be the best option for every career, but if your’re going to college for a business degree, online courses can be an excellent alternative. Many companies still look to hire people with college degrees from reputable schools, however, when you join a company, to a large extent you give away control over your future. Your income and future will be in the hands of that company and not your own. 

Imagine spending 4 years learning a specific trade or trades that you are truly passionate about, on your own terms, while building a business with the money that you saved by foregoing overpriced college costs? There is a steep learning curve for anyone starting a business, college educated or not. Why not just jump in and get real world experience, make your mistakes early, get a head start on your career, and save a bundle of money in the process?

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