Cheaper Alternatives to College
By Stephen Bucaro
The High Cost of a College Education
Getting a college education is expensive. The average cost of tuition and fees for a
year at a public university for the 2014-15 school year was $9,139. Factoring in the
average rate of education inflation the total cost of tuition and fees for an in-state
student at a public university for a four-year degree would be $39,508. And the cost for
a four-year degree at a private university? You don't want to know. ($135,000 not
counting the cost of housing, books, and other items.)
More than two-thirds of college graduates are in debt, their average debt at graduation being
about $35,000. Student loan debt is increasing because government grants have failed to keep
up with the increase in college costs. This has shifted much of the burden of paying for
college to families. Since family income has been flat since 2000, students must either
borrow more to pay for college or find cheaper alternatives to college.
The massive student loan debt has had a debilitating effect on the economy. Total student
loan debt exceeded $1 trillion in 2012. Students who graduate with a high debt load are
20% more likely to take a job outside their field, to work more than they desired, or to
work more than one job. They are delaying important life events, such a buying a home,
getting married, or having children. What are some cheaper alternatives to college?
When an employer sees Certification on your resume, it lets them know that you have been
tested and have been found to have the required knowledge to perform the specific job related
to that certification.
You can find a certificate programs at community colleges, trade schools, online schools,
or you can study entirely on your own. No matter how to study for the certification, if you
pass the certification exam, you are certified.
If you attend classes to study for certification, it can usually requires from a few
weeks to a few months to complete. Programs that take a few months to a year are ones that
prepare you for a career, such as HVAC or legal assistance.
You might find it interesting to know that many high paying Hospital Jobs, such as EKG/ECG
Technician, Vascular Technician, Laboratory Technician, and Radiologic Technician require only
a Certification, and some of these jobs pay $70,000 per year or more.
A Community college, sometimes called junior college, is a college that provides a two-year
degree called an associate degree. Although an associate degree does not have the stature as
a bachelor's degree, it can still put you in position for a high paying job.
Community college also has several other advantages: 1. Easier to qualify for 2. Much
lower cost 3. Smaller class size 4. There is almost always a local Community college, so have
the ability to live at home.
Another important advantage of community college is that they have a partnership with
industry. Community college officials work with employers to develop training programs that
are relevant and provide training for skills that employers need. This means that your odds
of getting a job after graduation is greatly increased.
A nice thing about community college is that it can provide a pathway to a four-year
Degree. Being a graduate of a community college proves that you can succeed in the college
environment, and most credits earned at a community colleges will transfer to a four-year college
or university. You can go to a community college for two years on the cheap and then transfer
to a four-year college or university and complete a bachelor's degree.