A number of important factors are prominent in the decision to attend college. This article will explore the major decision points so that an aspiring college student can make a fully informed decision before beginning the lengthy college process.
Students must make certain that they are fully prepared for the commitment. College requires a layout of money for tuition and books, as well as a continuous commitment of approximately 15 hours of class per week and 30 hours of study.
The commitment of 45 hours a week to class and study is greater than a 40-hour work week. So the costs also involve forgoing work opportunities in order to study. Students might wonder about the overall benefit of having a college degree over going to work straight out of high school.
The hourly wage of a college graduate approximates $28 or more per hour, as opposed to the minimum wage of $7 or $8 per hour. That's a $20 or more per hour wage differential.
Next, a student must weigh the benefits of working at a trade, such as a welder, electrician, plumber, solar energy installation services provider, or construction worker. Those jobs pay much more than an entry level wage; however, there is a long apprenticeship involving on-the-job training and some formal classroom training. In addition, trade schools can be costly too. A year or two at a trade school can be comparable to a full year or more of tuition at a local private college.
Once a student makes an affirmative decision to go to college, the next issue is deciding what to study and how to pay for it. Tuition at a public college can be as low as 25% of tuition at a private institution. Traditionally, college costs are calculated based on need, taking the family income into account.
Once a student can establish need due to a low family income, then a much higher proportion of college costs can be covered through programs such as Federal Work Study or Pell Grants. Full or partial scholarships may be awarded in accordance with need, superior academic performance in high school, a very high SAT score or ACT score, or a combination of factors. Scholarships may be awarded based upon superior athletic performance or potential demonstrated in a high school sport such as, football, soccer, hockey, or baseball.
The National Guard can pay up to 100% of your college tuition and general fees, up to $4,500 per year. This adds up to $18,000 over four years. The exact amount is based on in-state public institution tuition rates.