How Much Does A College Education Cost?

Yesterday we looked at how a college diploma can help increase income for students. We also noted that there are significant cost concerns when considering a four-year degree.

Let’s take a look at some recent statistics regarding the real impact of college cost, and offer a few ideas for how to pay for that education.

Yesterday we referenced a report from Rutgers University titled “Chasing the American Dream: Recent College Graduates and the Great Recession.” Their research provides some great insight regarding how the economy has impacted the earning potential of college graduates over the last few years, and how college graduates feel about how their education prepared them.

According to the study,

  • 47 percent of those surveyed indicated that parents/relatives helped them pay for college
  • 41 percent said they worked and saved themselves to help pay for their tuition and other college expenses
  • 56 percent indicating they needed a student loan, and another
  • 55 percent that were able to secure a scholarship

These numbers show the overwhelming majority of college students are looking to more than one source of funding to take care of their college costs.

In November 2011, The Project on Student Debt released their report on the college class of 2010. This was their sixth annual report, and they provide some great state and regional specific data showing the amount of debt college students are accumulating. They found that:

  • two-thirds of college seniors graduated with student loan debt.
  • the average amount of debt for the Class of 2010 was $25,250, which is a five percent increase from the Class of 2009

That debt is impacting the lives of students. According to the Rutgers study, 40 percent of those surveyed said their college debt resulted in the delay of a major purchase (home, automobile), and another 14 percent said it delayed a potential marriage or committed relationship.

Families of college students are spending more after graduation as well. Of graduates surveyed in the Rutgers study, 27 percent said they moved back in with their parents or family to save money, while 15 percent indicated family was helping them with health care costs.

How can students, both before and during college, manage costs to minimize debt upon graduation? And where can students and their families go for funding assistance? We’ll take a look at that tomorrow.

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