Many parents and students will inevitably question the cost of getting an education. Parents in particular are concerned with the outcomes of a college degree; will their investment in tuition and their son or daughter's educational debt eventually pay off? Although it's often difficult to see at first, the answer is a resounding "yes."
Students who learn more, earn more.
College offers tremendous personal and professional growth for students. According to a study by CollegeBoard, college graduates are more likely to volunteer, vote, and be more active citizens; they are more likely to be healthier, less likely to participate in unhealthy activities like smoking, less likely to be unemployed, and are less likely to commit crimes. In general, college graduates enjoy a higher quality of life. And, of course, college graduates earn more money: "the typical bachelor's degree recipient can expect to earn about 73 percent more over a 40-year working life than the typical high school graduate earns over the same period of time" (CollegeBoard).
College costs can seem overwhelming at times and there is a concern that students will have to take on too much debt to receive any benefits of their education. Students with a Bachelor's degree typically recoup their expenses and lost wages by the time they reach the age of 33. By this age, according to CollegeBoard, "the typical college graduate who enrolled at age 18 has earned enough to compensate for both tuition and fees at the average public four-year institution, as well as earnings forgone during the college years." Each additional year of work contributes to the financial benefit of higher education.
The idea of education as an investment is widely understood on some level by students and parents. But college costs often discourage or delay many students from pursuing higher education. Many students do not even apply to institutions they want to attend because they believe they simply will not be able to afford the "sticker price." Every student and parent should know this simple fact: a college education almost always costs less than the advertised tuition. Federal, state, institutional, and private aid all contribute to a reduction in actual cost.
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A student's top concern should be determining whether or not a particular institution is a good fit for him or her. Students should apply to the college of their choice, and then work with their financial aid office to determine a plan to enroll. Parents can assist their son or daughter in the college selection process by having him or her consider the following criteria:
Students need support in many aspects, not just financially. At RMU, students have access to Student Support and many other resources like the Lopata Resource Center. Additionally, encourage your student to look for private scholarships by browsing our Outside Scholarships page.
Source: CollegeBoard, "Education Pays: The Benefits of Higher Education for Individuals and Society," 2004.
Robert Morris University is a private, not-for-profit associate, baccalaureate, and master's degree-granting institution, accredited by the Higher learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (230 South LaSalle Street, Chicago, Illinois 60604, 312.263.0456). RMU serves over 7000 students interested in getting an education that meets the demands of today's business, graphic arts, health care, culinary and technical world at its main campus in Chicago as well as at locations in Arlington Heights, DuPage, Elgin, Orland Park, Bensenville, Schaumburg, Springfield, Peoria and Lake County.