Why College?

For many, education is the first big investment ever made. The cost of an education is significant, but the return on that investment lasts a lifetime.

It’s the way the economy works today. An education is the single best investment that a person can make.

What are the benefits of a College Degree?

College enables students to:

  • Expand knowledge and skills
  • Express thoughts clearly in speech and in writing
  • Grasp abstract concepts and theories
  • Increase understanding of the world and community
  • Gain more financial security

A college degree opens the door to a greater range and number of job opportunities

In our changing world, more and more jobs require education beyond high school. College graduates have more jobs to choose from than those who don't pursue education beyond high school.

Is College Worth the Cost?

The Great Recession has been brutal on most workers, but those without a college degree have suffered the most.

  • Workers with a college degree or better = 4.7 percent unemployment
  • Workers with only a high school degree = 9.1 percent unemployment
  • Workers with less than a high school diploma = 14.1 percent unemployment

Education matters, perhaps now more than ever.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a worker with a bachelor's degree can earn 65% more than those with just a high school diploma.

Now What?

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to paying for college. What makes sense for one student may not make sense for another student.

Students and their families should think through the financial downside as well as the upside of their college choices.

The first sources of funding that we suggest students look at are scholarships, grants and tuition reimbursement programs because they reduce the amount that the student is responsible for paying. Unlike loans, scholarships and grants do not need to be paid back.

After exploring grants and scholarships, we suggest that students look closely at any savings that they and their families may have set aside for their education.

Loans are typically the most significant component but not the only one. Students usually have a mix of multiple funding sources in their plan for paying for college. Borrow as little as you can with federal student loans. Most important is to borrow with extreme care.

For new students, the best way to find the right mix is to answer a series of questions:

  • What scholarships or grants are available to pay for a portion of the costs?
  • What family savings are available to reduce the amount borrowed?
  • What is the best way to finance the balance which will need to be paid back over time?