College Education Costs Increasing; Family Income Remains Steady or Falls, Recent Study Says

Most return to campus for the fall semester in the past several weeks. According to a recent study, many of those are in a financial crunch. According to a study released recently by the Campaign for America’s Future, the average tuition cost is rising across the country. At the same time the average American family’s income is either remaining steady, or dropping. This is resulting in some serious financial implications for including leaving college under significant debt according to the press release from the Campaign for America’s Future.

The report studied the cost of college tuition along with the median American Household income levels starting in 2000 and ending in 2006. The report found that the average undergraduate tuition and other expenses for four increased $1,431 in the six year period. For private colleges that increase is higher with it being $1,670. The percentage increase is much more significant for public colleges though according to the press release with it being 37% in that six year period compared with 6% for private college tuition.

Meanwhile, the study results are reported in the press release indicating that the median household income during that six year span has decreased $957, which is a 2 percent decrease. It is higher for African American families with a decrease of 8% in median household income, and Asian American families who saw a three percent decrease. Median household income for men has dropped three percent from 2000 to 2006 for males, and increased one percent for females.

Unfortunately for financial aid is not making up for these differences either, according to the press release. Comparing the 2004-05 and 2005-06 school years, the press release notes that Pell Grant expenditures dropped from $13.6 billion to $12.7 billion. Pell Grants today according to the study are $294 lower than their peak amount in 2002-2003.

The would take effect on October 1st, if it is passed by both houses of Congress and the President signs the bill, according to the press release.

“This is a first step. Many families have no choice but to borrow heavily to meet the costs,” said Robert Borosage, who is the Campaign For America’s Future’s Director.

SOURCES: “New Government Data Shows College Costs Are Soaring Further Out Of Reach”.

Why Advanced Education Does Not Always Guarantee Career Advancement

Having worked in the higher education field for more than 30 years in major public and private universities, I’ve watched thousands of students sign up for post-graduate degree programs. My advice to anyone thinking about entering a master’s, Ph.D., Ed.D. or other graduate program is … think twice. Here’s why.

Career Success is Not Guaranteed

For many people getting an advanced degree is a sure fire way to advance your career. In some cases this is true. Obviously some career choices – like medicine or law – require an advanced degree to practice in that profession. However, does it guarantee career stability? No way. America’s recent “Great Recession” proved this. Workers with higher degrees were not spared from cutbacks and layoffs.

In many cases the advanced degree is just a promise that you will do better in your profession than someone who has only an undergraduate degree or less – a very thin promise in fact. For example, the Ed.D. degree – a pseudo Ph.D. degree for those going into the field of education, or who are trying to move up the career ladder in that field – is touted, mostly by schools of education, as a must have for advancing to administrative positions in education. In fact, the Ed.D. degree is superfluous to getting your undergraduate degree and your teaching credential. Armed with those two pieces of paper you can enter the education profession and do well. So, why is the Ed.D. degree offered? Well, it – as well as the master’s degree – is a huge moneymaker for university schools of education. In fact, most schools of makes up most of their annual budget.

School district’s are often co-conspirators in this higher degree chase. School district pay scales offer more money to teachers who have a higher degree. That, perhaps, is the only reason for pursuing an advanced degree in education.

No Proof Advanced Degree Makes a Better Employee

Here’s a simple fact to illustrate the point. The majority of schoolteachers have a four-year degree and a teaching credential. There are comparatively few teachers nationwide who have advanced degrees. Another point to consider. Does possessing an advanced degree make you a better teacher? There is no statistical or research data that indicates a teacher with an advanced degree does better than a colleague with the minimum education and credential to teach.

What about administrators? Educational administration is the backbone of schools of education that tout their Ed.D. degree programs. The same is true for Ph.D. degrees in education. Most school administrators do not have either degree – and they do as well as those who do have such degrees. In the case of the Ph.D., touted for those who plan a career in education research, there are many more Ph.D. program than there will ever be jobs for.

Tips for Success

While the above illustrates higher degrees in education as an example of why advanced education may not be a career stabilizing force, it holds true for other advanced degrees as well such as the Masters in Business Administration. For those seeking to advance themselves in their field and to find a measure of career stability, consider the following: Get your undergraduate degree and then find employment first. If getting an advanced degree seems critical for your job success do it part-time while you work. Weekend and evening degree programs are excellent for this. Choose a public college or university for this purpose – it saves a lot of money and offers as much quality as any private university. Ignore the advertising pitches that show successful alumni who …

Achieving Educational Goals as a Returning Adult Student

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.-Lao Tzu

Wise words spoken 2500 years ago, but ring true yet today.

It may feel like that sort of journey to undertake the completion of a college degree program. And it rightly is a feat to be proud to achieve. How do you make it happen with all the ‘life’ going on around you, stealing your precious time and energy?

Like any goal or plan you have had in your life, and following Lao Tzu’s tenet, you take it one step at a time. Think about it. Really, think of a time in your past when you accomplished something important. How did you do it? Did you wake up one morning and say, “I think I’ll buy a house today “? And then complete it before turning in that evening? Doubtful, unless you carry enormous amounts of cash around and are easy to please. There are tasks or mini steps which when completed naturally lead to the next task until you reach the final destination, right? And you have successfully proven your ability to do this with one or more life goals already.

Educational goals are no different. The absolute hardest part of accomplishing this or any goal is taking that FIRST STEP. What is that first step for you, then? Knowing what you want to accomplish. Do you need to start looking for programs in Forensic Science? Or figure out what training is required to be a Video Game programmer? Or map out the steps to get into a Law school? Whatever it is, once you have the end goal in mind, back up and write out the mini-steps you need to do to reach that destination.

When buying a house you had to:

Contact lenders to be pre-qualified for a maximum loan amount.
Find a Realtor.
Locate neighborhoods that have houses in your price range and have amenities you need.
View enough homes until you find one you can see yourself living in.
Make an offer.
Complete loan paperwork.
Inspect the home.
Close on the sale.
Move into your dream home!

Of course, there were many more steps involved, but you get the idea. With your education, when you look at what needs to happen in totality, it may seem overwhelming. But, if you break it down into daily, weekly, monthly steps you can take to get to the finish, it’s much easier. One day, one step at a time, and before you know it, it’s been 1000 miles. And you’re not even winded.

So, I recommend asking yourself daily, “Can I take one more step today? Just one?”
And then, take it.…