Kamis, 20 Oktober 2011

College Planning - When you were young

By Greg Stevens

Certainly, as readers of this article about college planning, you are parents involved in your children’s lives and you want only the best for them. Parents want their children to be at least as successful you have been in life. This does not just mean monetary success. We all want happy and healthy kids. Monetary success is also very important in the world today. The best way for children to achieve success in life, monetarily and otherwise, is to enter and graduate from a respectable college or university.

Studies show that young adults who attend college have better critical thinking skills, are healthier, smoke far less and are more physically active than those who do not attend college.

Other studies show that over a college graduate’s lifetime, they will earn over one million dollars more than someone with just a high school education. Investment in a college education is the best investment you as concerned parents can make in your children’s future. It’s just that simple.

Since 1984, tuition for colleges in America has increased an average of 8% per year. So, about every 9-10 years, college tuition doubles – and there reason to believe this will be slowing down anytime soon. With tuition alone (and these numbers are in today’s dollars, not when your kids will be attending in 5, 10 or 15 years down the road) you’re talking about a staggering amount of money. Add things like living expenses, travel, books and fees, it goes from staggering to outright mind-boggling!

Colleges are in a race to attract the best, the brightest, the most promising students graduating high schools today. Some of the reasons for these increases are the competitiveness among universities to attract these students and to be tops among the various organizations that rank colleges and universities. So facilities have to be upgraded and promoted to attract top students.

Professor’s salaries, tenured and otherwise, are another reason why college is so expensive. In order to attract top professors, a premium is paid and tenure is offered. Attracting the best professors is expensive.

Looking at the University of Texas at Austin, the ‘cost of attendance’ (COA) right now, in 2011 dollars, is about 23,000 dollars per year. The COA is the sum total of expenses for young person to attend a college of university. Most private universities are twice the current UT COA - or more.

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