Don Strand says that a harsh reality is that, “your passion can have you strangled by debt.” He says that there is a difference between debt and a debt investment. While many students view educational loans as investments, Strand encourages families to consider the dangers of high debt because, “it can create financial struggle for years and years.”
While college graduates earn about $28,000 more annually than their peers with high school diplomas, according to the Pew Research Center what students major in while in-college makes a difference in what they earn in their field after they graduate.
Dr. Shari Sevier, Interim Director for the Missouri School Counselor Association, says that it is important for students to know that money shouldn’t be a deterrent from attending a good school or fulfilling their dreams. “We don’t want money to be the reason people go into various fields; rarely does that turn out well. Still, if you major in something that’s like a needle in a haystack, you need to face the reality that jobs may be hard to come by.”
With that being said, it is also helpful to sort through your options for continuing education. Strand says it’s important to keep your options open for other higher education pathways when considering affordability. Community colleges and career training programs are alternatives to high-priced four-year schools. Strand says that taking general classes at community colleges can be a great way to get your education without taking on more debt than you can afford. “I always tell the kids that college is only time in life that they will get free money. Some community colleges like City College of San Francisco are now free.”
Going to college is about expanding your horizons. Although the question of whether or not you can afford college is tough to answer, you’ll find it helpful to weigh all of your options. With the right information, preparation and support college your family can explore ways to make continuing education more affordable. Remember: affordability does not have to limit your dreams.