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College Can Be Expensive - How Do You Pick the Right One?

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These days, college students have more to worry about than what classes to take next semester. Rising tuition expenses, mountains of debt, and the not-so-sunny outlook on the employment prospects of many popular career choices have increased the importance for both parents and future college students to examine their choices more thoroughly than ever before. Before mailing in the applications, use the available data wisely: research which majors have the most potential, and, more importantly, study each school’s return on investment—which is what, ultimately, you’ll earn back from your degree.

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College Can Be Expensive - How Do You Pick the Right One?

  1. 1. College Can Be Expensive. How Do You Pick the Right One? Going to college is a costly endeavor—and that cost is increasing every year. The typical cost of a college education including tuition, fees, and room & board for the 2013-14 school year was…
  2. 2. Public four-year in state: $18,391 up 3.2% from the prior year 1 Public four-year out-of-state: $31,701 up 3.2% Private nonprofit: $40,917 up 3.7% Over the five years from the 2008-09 academic year to the 2013-14 year, the average tuition and fees at public four-year colleges increased 27% beyond the rate of inflation. College tuition has tripled between 1973 and 2013. 1 The College Board, Annual Survey of Colleges. http://trends.collegeboard.org/college-pricing/figures-tables/average-published-undergraduate-charges-sector-2013-14
  3. 3. ? ? ? With that cost in mind, making the decision of which school to attend becomes that much more difficult.
  4. 4. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources to use when making the selection, including the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and Payscale’s College ROI Report, among others.
  5. 5. 1. What are you interested in? Figure out what you’d like to study and narrow down your options based on schools that offer that type of degree and program.
  6. 6. New, specialized majors have opened up more options for students. PayScale’s “Majors That Pay You Back” list shows the top 10 majors by salary potential, al-lowing students to better understand the cost of the school vs. the earning potential for the given major.
  7. 7. + + Combine that with data about job satisfaction, meaningfulness and overall happiness and you can choose a career that best fits you.
  8. 8. 31% In fact: of 2012 college graduates said that, in hindsight, they would have pursued a different major if they had known the salary information of the field beforehand. 2 2 Accounting Principals Workonomix Survey Series: Post-Graduation Debt & Spending. http://www.accountingprincipals.com/Documents/downloads/api-workonomix-survey-post-graduation-2012.pdf
  9. 9. 2. Do you need financial aid? Figuring out how to finance a college education is something many students must face.
  10. 10. Understanding your potential return on investment after factoring in your choice of major and likely financial aid can save a few headaches down the road.
  11. 11. 35% of 2012 college graduates said that they would have actively pursued more financial aid opportunities had they known what they know now. 3 3 Accounting Principals Workonomix Survey Series: Post-Graduation Debt & Spending. http://www.accountingprincipals.com/Documents/downloads/api-workonomix-survey-post-graduation-2012.pdf
  12. 12. So take their advice— register with FAFSA. Most schools have resources that help students find scholarships and provide other cost-saving tricks.
  13. 13. 3. Where do you want to go to school?
  14. 14. In your home state? All the way across the country? This decision can mean a much higher cost if the institution is hundreds of miles away. In-state tuition is often lower than out-of-state.
  15. 15. 4. Do you want to go to a large school or a small school?
  16. 16. Large schools offer the quintessential university experience, but for students who need more one-on-one time, it can be easy to get “lost.”
  17. 17. Large schools offer a wide variety of majors and courses, housing options, student activities, and top-of-the-line facilities.
  18. 18. BUT You probably won’t get to have an individual, heated debate in those large lecture halls. Teaching assistants are often leading classes, not the famous faculty for which the schools are known.
  19. 19. Small schools boast small class sizes, allowing for interaction among the students and teachers. Advisers often meet with students individually and get to know them on a more personal level.
  20. 20. BUT Sometimes small colleges don’t have the resources large schools have and their research facilities may not be as advanced. Athletics, while offered, are often less competitive than at larger schools.
  21. 21. Even just these questions open up hundreds of possibilities within the thousands— yes, thousands—of four-year public and private institutions in the country.
  22. 22. But when whittling down your list, know that the sticker price of a school doesn’t reflect the actual net price, which is what it will cost you to attend that school.
  23. 23. A Net Price Calculator can help you figure out what the price will be, using FAFSA details to narrow it down…
  24. 24. …but it’s not just about how much you’re paying for school. It is how much return you’ll get on your tuition investment after you graduate.
  25. 25. A study conducted last year of 750 college graduates reported an average of $35,200 of college-related debt.
  26. 26. For some college graduates, paying that debt off is almost a life sentence. 42% lower than expected starting salaries Especially considering that almost half of all 2012 graduates (42%) said their starting salaries were lower than they expected. 4 By choosing the right college, however, you will know what to expect. 4 Accounting Principals Workonomix Survey Series: Post-Graduation Debt & Spending. http://www.accountingprincipals.com/Documents/downloads/api-workonomix-survey-post-graduation-2012.pdf
  27. 27. Payscale’s College ROI Report shows how schools rank in terms of return on investment by school type, location, major and more.
  28. 28. This means you’ll see how well graduates typically do in the workforce—which is a big part of the reason students attend college in the first place! Half of the students in The Princeton Review’s College Hopes and Worries survey said that a better job and higher income was the biggest benefit of going to college!
  29. 29. ? ? ? For example: A student from Texas wants to receive a degree in engineering in his home state. Which school offers the highest ROI?
  30. 30. According to PayScale’s College ROI Report, that would be University of Texas - Austin, whose graduates receive a $172,700 20- year net ROI.
  31. 31. Each school listed on the report also has data on: Typical starting salary after graduation Average SAT/ACT scores Most popular degrees Median salaries by job Most popular employers Gender distribution
  32. 32. Each school listed on the report also has data on: Typical starting salary after graduation Average SAT/ACT scores Most popular degrees Median salaries by job Most popular employers Gender distribution
  33. 33. Each school listed on the report also has data on: Typical starting salary after graduation Average SAT/ACT scores Most popular degrees Median salaries by job Most popular employers Gender distribution
  34. 34. Each school listed on the report also has data on: Typical starting salary after graduation Average SAT/ACT scores Most popular degrees Median salaries by job Most popular employers Gender distribution
  35. 35. Each school listed on the report also has data on: Typical starting salary after graduation Average SAT/ACT scores Most popular degrees Median salaries by job Most popular employers Gender distribution
  36. 36. Each school listed on the report also has data on: Typical starting salary after graduation Average SAT/ACT scores Most popular degrees Median salaries by job Most popular employers Gender distribution
  37. 37. Armed with this information, students can easily scratch off colleges on their short list that don’t make the ROI cut.
  38. 38. These days, it’s not enough to guarantee just a degree on graduation day; a student must be assured that his or her diploma is worth more than the paper it’s printed on.

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