6:47 pm - February 8th 2013
by Jenna Smith
The cost of a college education has caused many to question its value. According to CNN/Money.com the average graduate’s debt is nearing $27,000 in the USA, and theatlantic.com reports that 53% of the recent graduates are unemployed or underemployed. Inflationdata.com points out that since 1986 the average inflation rate is 115.06%, and the college tuition rate increased 498.31%.
The reason for the excessive inflation rate is that the Stafford Act lifted the restrictions on parental income. Without these restrictions, student loans became available to almost all students, and colleges increased tuition to absorb the influx of money.
What Can Students Do?
If you choose a career that does not require a college degree, you can earn a trade or vocational school certificate. These certificates will allow you to begin working in your chosen field to gain experience and funds for a college education if you choose to earn a degree later.
Begin investing in a 529 plan as soon as possible. These plans are tax free when used for education. They may also be used for some trade and vocational schools if approved by the United States Department of Education. However, not every state allows 529 plans for trade and vocational schools. Check with the plan administer before investing. Be certain to make a savings account interest rates comparison to get the greatest return. Saving For College is an excellent source for information about 529 accounts.
You can save a lot of money by taking online classes. You avoid travel or dormitory expenses, and you can work part time. Be certain that the online classes are accredited by the same accrediting agencies that accredit the institution that you plan to attend. If not, be certain that your preferred college or university accepts your online credits.
Credit cards are excellent for paying bills. Cards that pay cash back provide an excellent way to reduce purchase prices. Check the latest credit card offers for good credit and begin saving on purchases. Do not, however, buy anything with your credit card that you cannot pay for in full when the bill is due.
College degrees over qualify graduates for many jobs. Determine if you actually need a degree, and if not, select the education you need. It’s time to take charge of your education.
Jenna is a freelance writer who most often writes about personal finance, business, and sometimes politics. She writes more at paidtwice.com.
Consideration was received for the editing and publishing of this article
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