You’ve heard the horror stories: parents shelling out $30,000 only to watch their kid drop out of school, college grads with debt in the six figures and no job prospects.
Is college still worth it?
The average student now leaves college with $25,000 in debt—and only 56% of students at four-year universities graduate within six years.
Even more unsettling: three-quarters of students who graduate in the lower 40% of their high school class take eight or more years to finish, according to the U.S. Dept. of Education.
Yet despite the rough job market, degrees pay off: college grads still have lower unemployment rates and earn a median of $20,000 more per year than people without a B.A.
It’s a tough call: you want your kid to get ahead, and conventional wisdom calls for at least a bachelor’s degree.
But some students are doing the math and choosing alternatives. Community college enrollment increased from 3.1 to 3.4 million from 2007 to 2008, and trade school numbers are up, too. (Of course, not all trade schools are a bargain.)
Either way, remember that your kid can get a great educationwithout putting you (or themselves) in debt.