The cost of a 4-year college
|Annual tuition and required fees, 2005-06
|Growth in tuition and fees beyond inflation, 1995-2005
|Median debt upon graduation
Source: Department of Education, Spellings Commission report
So is it time to NOT go to school? Has the cost of school gone up so high that the pay increase you do get after you get the degree isn’t enough to pay for the loans? Even if you go for free, either with student financial aid, the school pays or Mom and Dad pay – or some combination, is it worth not working full time for the next 4-6 years until you finish school?
Here is a quote from the article (if you are planning to go to school or planning to send your child, this is a must read):
Consider two childhood friends, Ernie and Bill. Hard workers with helpful families, each saves exactly $16,594 for college. Ernie doesn’t get accepted to a school he likes. Instead, he starts work at 18 and invests his college savings in a mutual fund that tracks the broad stock market.Throughout his life, he makes average yearly pay for a high school graduate with no college, starting at $15,901 after taxes and peaking at $32,538. Each month, he adds to his stock fund 5% of his after-tax income, close to the nation’s current savings rate. It returns 8% a year, typical for stock investors.
Bill has a typical college experience. He gets into a public college and after two years transfers to a private one. He spends $49,286 on tuition and required fees, the average for such a track. I’m not counting room and board, since Bill must pay for his keep whether he goes to college or not. Bill gets average-size grants, adjusted for average probabilities of receiving them, and so pays $34,044 for college.
He leaves school with an average-size student loan and a good interest rate: $17,450 at 5%. The $16,594 he has saved for college, you see, is precisely enough to pay what his loans don’t cover.
But wait there more.