I am disillusioned by college. That’s a given.
One significant issue for me is the cost. Are all the expenses worth it? I am advised that my education is an investment. However, will I really get this much of a return on my investment.
Let’s break it down.
This is the cost that everyone gets hung up on. That makes sense. Tuition is one of the largest expenses. For private schools this can skyrocket up to over $50,000 a year. However, state schools can still cost $5000 – $8000 per year.
Room and Board
Everyone pushes that living on campus is preferred. Students who live on campus have proven to be more successful. However, room costs and food plans can cost another $10,000 – $15,000 per year. The food plans often require us to pay for food that we will not even eat.
The textbook industry is a hoax. They seem to update the editions every semester. This means that a student must purchase NEW textbooks that cost sometimes over $200 per book.
Gear – tablets, laptops
To make it in college today, students also need computers, laptops and tablets. Professors now post most classwork online. Of course, students can find a computer lab but getting there and using the college lab computers can be a hassle and sometimes just a mess.
Unless a student is attending school in their hometown, they will need to pay for travel costs. If their dorms close over breaks, they will be forced to travel home multiple times during the semester.
Now, to finish a degree in even 5 years, students will also need to enroll in classes during the summer. Typically, financial aid doesn’t cover this added semester. So, students must rack up more expenses.
To reduce these costs, students have a few options. I will run through them. We must be smart.
- Apply for all the financial aid that you can get
- Apply for all the scholarships you can find
- Get a part time job
- Rent your textbooks. Share your textbooks. Figure out if you can use old editions
- Go small and cheap for your equipment.
- Look for student travel deals.
- Go to a community college
Students must be smart and put in effort to minimize the overall costs. Then, the costs, if maintained, might be worth the investment.