College is an investment and the most worthwhile and rewarding investment of your life. No doubt the costs have been skyrocketing, but with an average salary increase of 60 percent for those with a bachelors degree, the total return could reach ONE MILLION DOLLARS over a lifetime. Making small sacrifices early in life will result in great returns in the long run.

Here are a few other facts about college:

  • The average public four-year college tuition is $6,585 (up 6.4 percent from last year)
  • The average private four-year college tuition is $25,143 (up 5.9 percent from last yer)
  • 56 percent of college students pay less than $9,000 per year in tuition in the United States
  • 32 percent of full-time students attend public two-year colleges
  • About 2/3 of students receive some sort of grant aid

Here are a few tips about college:

  • Enroll in Advanced Placement (AP) classes in high school to earn college credits. It’s not impossible to earn a full semesters worth of college credits before even arriving on campus. That is a savings of more than $3,000+ depending on how many courses are taken.
  • Don’t skip classes. You are in an institution to learn and it’s not worth cheating yourself of a full education. If your class meets twice a week, each class would cost $25 (assuming 3 credits).
  • Enroll in winter or summer terms. By taking an extra class when everyone is ‘vacationing’, this allows you to get ahead of your peers, thus being able to pick the classes you want, when you want.
  • Make use of textbook rental services, that way you can save a great deal of money comparing to buying brand new ones.

I graduated from a four year university back in 2004 and I’m proud to say that I was able to graduate magna cum laude in those four years. In fact, if I would have stretched myself, I could have done it in 3.5 years, but decided to take lighter loads my senior year to volunteer on campus. Just a word of advice there, if you have the opportunity to volunteer, do so, it is a great resume builder. However, back then, I didn’t really consider going to college an investment.

Of course, when you graduate from high school, you’re expected to move on to some sort of higher learning. Although, for me, it was an easy decision to go to college because of the enormous demand for what I wanted to do. Having a degree was an essential first step to get your foot in the door for the career you want to pursue. The cost of college was a shocker and I thought I had done well to save for college. My college tuition from my freshman year to senior year had nearly doubled, in just four years! I wasn’t expecting that.

I had a goal of paying off my student loans in 5 years instead of making the minimum payments over 10 years. I have a great interest rate on my loans, but I may just fall short of my goal because I’ve been putting more towards my high interest debt (car loan). So far, I can’t think of one reason why I would recommend not going to college. Looking back, it’s been the best performing investment of my life and a great was to recession proof your job.

Stupidly Yours,

Matt

Data provided by CollegeBoard.com