College graduations are fast approaching. And, after four years and hundreds of hours spent in classroom discussions, late nights studying for exams, and finessing endless papers and projects, students may wonder… what is that shiny new college degree really worth?
The financial benefits of a college education
The value of a college education cannot be overstated. And, while we can all recite the “Cinderella stories” of students who have thrown off the shackles of higher education to start multimillion dollar (and even billion dollar) businesses, the reality is college grads earn more.
Just how much more?
A recent study from Georgetown University found that the median yearly income gap between high school and college graduates is around $17,500. That’s $1 million more in earnings over a lifetime.
According to Dr. Peter Osborn, vice president for adult learning at Cornerstone University, “It’s trendy for people to advise against college. They say things like, “If Richard Branson didn’t go to college, why should you?” And while there’s obviously a little bit of truth to this question, it misses the main point: most people aren’t Richard Branson.”
And, take-home pay is just the beginning.
The article Benefits of Earning a College Degree from Education Corner notes, “… most jobs that require a Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral or professional degree tend to also provide more benefits. This can include health care, retirement investment, travel and other perks. These types of benefits are rarely offered for high-school-level jobs.” Those benefits can add up quickly.
What’s the real cost of an education?
Although the financial benefits to a college education are clear and incontrovertible, affording college is still a struggle for many families. A quick peek at some of the nation’s most venerated colleges reveals that tuition costs have rapidly outpaced earnings.
For example, according to CollegeData.com, the total Cost of Attendance (including tuition, room and board, fees and expenses) for Columbia University in New York (2016-2017) was a whopping $71,690!
And, price increases are not limited to the the country’s most prestigious universities. Once seen as a more affordable option, state universities have also dramatically increased their costs. Reflecting major infrastructure improvements, increased academic options, and rapidly rising national rankings, local state university tuitions may surprise unsuspecting parents.
For example, the University of Delaware total Cost of Attendance for 2016-2017 is $32,250 for out of state students. Penn State will set families back $36,388 for in-state and $50,870 for out of state students.
How to afford college
The good news for cash-strapped families is that scholarships offer “free money.” Unlike loans, scholarships don’t need to be repaid. This means fewer out-of-pocket costs and the potential to graduate with less student debt.
In Delaware, the Department of Education offers college-bound students an easy way to begin searching local and national scholarships in the online Scholarship Compendium . This is a free, mobile way for students to find scholarships by category and deadline. Students and parents can search scholarships by eligibility requirements such as county of residency, ethnicity or race, and profession – about 15 categories in all – as well as alphabetically or by due date. Users then can drill down for more details, including application information. To get started, visit Scholarship Compendium .
In addition, Back to Basics has created a database of college scholarships for all ages, majors, and interests. To see even more tuition-busting opportunities, visit our Scholarships tab.
And, don’t forget to visit our comprehensive guide How to WIN Scholarships for helpful tips on getting organized, writing essays, and winning those scholarships. Remember, an investment in education is an investment in the future.
About Back to Basics Learning Dynamics, Inc.
Back to Basics offers 1-on-1 tutoring in 60+ subjects, professional development, translating and interpreting in 21 languages, speech therapy, occupational therapy, behavior specialists, reading specialists, paras, ELL services, homebound services, RTI support, psycho-educational testing and test prep. We also offer summer school and educational summer camps, original credit and credit recovery, along with unique enrichment options such as music, art and photography. Plus, Back to Basics Private School is Delaware’s only Department of Education approved 1-on-1 Private School for K-12.
Back to Basics Learning Dynamics is the undisputed leader in 1-on-1 tutoring in Delaware and the tri-state area for over 60 subjects. Since 1985, our commitment to a 1-on-1 teaching method has differentiated us from other educational service providers.
We serve the diverse needs of a range of students – from those who simply need some academic support, to those who are learning disabled, hearing or visually impaired, ADHD, gifted, or on the Autism Spectrum including High Functioning Autistic and Asperger’s.