How Much Is Too Much for College?

College expenses have sky-rocketed. Authors Thakor and Kedar believe that when you graduate from college and a get a job, 25% of your earning will go for taxes and 15% should go to down payments for a car and eventually, a home. When the costs of college are way out of proportion to earnings in the first ten years, debt can become unmanageable. There are many options right now for students:

1) Begin at a community college. The community college is one of the best educational values around. If you start at a community college, build your basic college level learning skills, figure out your interests and abilities then you can transfer to a strong four year school or an Ivy League school, often with plenty of financial aid.

2) Go in state. A great deal of money can be saved by going to school in state. With the money you save, you can study in Shanghai, Dubai or Paris for a semester. You can take internships in cities like Chicago, San Francisco or New York City. These experiences will stand you in good stead as you build your career skills in addition to your knowledge skills.

3) Sacrifice. People who do well over the arc of their careers often sacrifice today so that they can have more in the future. In the book, The Millionaire Next Door, the authors chronicle many people who became millionaires by driving really old cars, taking the bus and shopping at places like Target and Walmart. So, delay gratification, quit spending on things you don’t need and ride the bus or take your bike to school.

4) Work. Even if your parents can afford to help you pay for college, insist that you pay for at least half of your education. Why? Because if you don’t have a stake in what you are doing, you are likely to waste your time by being undirected and unfocused. If you are paying for college, chances are you will figure out who you are, what you want and where you want to go in your life. Recommended work hours for college is 12-15 per week with a fifteen unit course load.

5) Plan for a bright financial future. Survey your options. Set your goals. Ask yourself what kind of life you want to live in five years, ten years, twenty years? What will you need to do to create that life? Who will you need to be? What will you need to earn? How hard will you need to work? What changes do you need to make today to make that happen?

Finally, your commitment to your own success matters much more than how much money you have or don’t have today or what your IQ is or isn’t. If you believe in yourself and you are willing to get an education and work hard, the world will be your oyster in any kind of economic climate.

New York Times
by Rebecca R. Ruiz
In a Huffington Post article, Manisha Thakor and Sharon Kedar, authors of “On My Own Two Feet: A Modern Girl’s Guide to Personal Finance,” pose the question, “How High is Too High for the Cost of Higher Education?”

For years the subliminal messaging most of us received was that ‘no price tag is too high for a quality higher education.’ As we rethink virtually everything in this post-AIG, post-Madoff, post-housing bubble world, it may be time to ask if that graduation cap tassel is really worth the financial hassle.

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