On December 21st, CNBC presented, “Price of Admission – America’s College Debt Crisis.” It was a great piece from the perspective of alerting the masses of a potential bubble similar to the one that fed our nation into the financial fiasco that has taken place over the last few years. It highlighted individuals and couples that face a lifetime of debt based on education loans. Other highlights included:
- Two-thirds of students complete college with a minimum of $24,000 in loan debt, typical is $80,000
- Student loans do not get wiped out in bankruptcy or death and cannot be refinanced
- National student loan debt is greater than the national credit card debt
- The Government only reports out student loan defaults for the first two years of default
- The cost of college is increasing 2-3 times the rate of inflation
- Students can no longer afford to “Discover” themselves in college
So what does all this mean to high school students who are getting ready to attend college or those who are already attending college with no clear direction of career path? It means the price of a college education can no longer include the luxury of “discovering yourself” through trial and error of courses and career exploration at a cost of ten to sixty thousand dollars a year when student loans are involved. It means completing a degree in four years may not be the national norm, but it needs to be your goal!
In my previous blog I talked about the importance of identifying career paths. That path doesn’t have to be single minded, but it does need to capitalize on your natural abilities and provide options accordingly. That way, your college “discovery of self” is targeted and doesn’t waste time and finances. In a job market as challenging as the one that exists today it is equally as important that you put yourself ahead of the curve and completion of that degree gets you out there earning and reduces the potential of increased college expenses.