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How Much Tuition is Too Much?

They say a college degree is one of the most important investments you could make in your life. According to howtoedu.org, The U.S. Census Bureau reported that the difference of annual salaries, on average, between high school and bachelor degree holders was $23,291. High school graduates averaged $27,915: bachelor degree holders, $51,206. The degree makes all the difference as it gets you into the higher paying jobs.

Do the Benefits Outweigh The Costs?

What is the cost-benefit ratio for student loans vs. salaries though? Is there a limit to how much a student should take out in student loans before the price becomes too much?

Much of the world today would say that there isn’t a limit. Either from a massive marketing push, or because many of the more recent graduates had to pay higher costs for the whole college experience, many stand firmly behind the idea that an education is worth every penny, even if those pennies add up to tens of thousands of dollars every year.

How Much Does College Really Cost?

For reference, Forbes reported on the 10 most expensive colleges in the U.S. last November. Number one was Sarah Lawrence College at just over $60,000 a year. After a 4 year education, that would equate to $240,000, just for a bachelor’s degree. Number ten on that list is Vanderbilt, costing the average student $58,000 a year. That’s not a huge difference in price.

Are those prices worth paying for when you leave the school to earn less than you spent every year? Not to mention that you’ll likely have family, car, and mortgage responsibilities to take care of soon. Just over $200,000 is not an easy loan to pay off. It’s almost a mortgage in fact.

Some push again that it’s worth every penny. The interesting thing to point out though is that it’s only the young who think along those lines. According to a moneytalksnews.com survey, adults aged 35 to 49 agree that $20,000 $50,000 in student loan debt is way too much. It’s only the 18 to 24 demographic that thinks the borrowing is worth it (and who’s to blame them when you haven’t had to start paying those loans off yet).

The disparity in opinions may come from having to push through years of student loan debt, or it could come from the drastic increase in the price of an education over the past twenty years.

There are quite a few schools that you can afford for under the $20,000 to $30,000 limit. State schools especially offer lower prices. In the state of Utah you can attend the Utah Valley University for about $2,500 in tuition every semester. After 4 years, you hit around $20,000 (not including the price of housing, food, etc.).

Is The Prestige Worth The Price Tag?

The question to ask yourself is if that particular education is worth the money. Prestige and national rankings purport that they are the best schools in the nation. As far as many professionals are concerned though, the degree only gets you your first job. After that, your professional career is determined based more on your work history than on the school you went to—with rare exceptions.

Those exceptions include getting post-graduate degrees from prestigious universities. For instance, a law degree from Harvard will always help you get a job. It doesn’t earn you a job, but it gets you a foot in the door. A degree can be tainted based on your work experience and references though. Just because you have a degree doesn’t mean that you automatically get all of the jobs you’re looking for.

Not only that, but there are plenty of excellent lawyers that come from less-known law schools. The point isn’t where you got your degree from, the point is what you got out of it. A graduate from BYU’s law school can perform just as well, if not better than a graduate from Harvard, if he or she puts in the work. They can qualify for the same jobs the Harvard graduates are applying for and beat them out, all after paying thousands of dollars less for their education.

The important thing to remember is that a degree from a specific school doesn’t always define the student. Great lawyers come out of every university, as do the lousy ones as well. The question doesn’t always have to come down to what’s the name over the door of the university you attend. It mostly comes down to what you’re willing to spend on your college education. Remember that as you pursue your educational interests. The price of your education doesn’t always guarantee a better education, because you can decide that.

Money Management Tips for College Freshmen

As high schools across the country prepare for and hold their graduation ceremonies, the graduating students are now looking forward to the college years. These outgoing seniors from high school and incoming freshmen in college will be put in an independent situation for the first time in their lives.

But while such independence is often exhilarating for the young adults, mature adults understand that with independence comes responsibility, namely financial responsibility. Financial responsibility entails a host of different items, but mostly it can be summated into being wise with expenditures, careful with savings, and handling money with care.

Start With Managing Your Money

The first thing that a newly independent freshman college student can do to become financially responsible and to begin to learn how to manage their money well is to understand the aid that online money management tools can give. Most banking institutions can provide a form of online banking and money management tools so speaking with one’s bank may be the best place to start learning the online tools available.

Online money management tools are effective for many different reasons. One of their primary functions is to assist in the creation and adherence to a budget.

Budgeting has long since been the foundation of proper money management and the backbone to financial success. Without a budget, college freshman especially are vulnerable to over spending and wasted resources.
Creating a budget for the first year of school is a relatively simple task. A college freshman can begin by examining all of the necessary expenses that they will be facing for their first semester at school.

Typically these expenses will include such things as rent, meal plans, textbooks, and transportation costs. After list all of the known expenses that will be incurred over the course of the semester, a college freshman can total that cost compared to what they will be earning every month from their jobs.

Once the necessary costs of food and shelter are accounted for, the remaining money from income can be distributed among other items in the budget such as for savings and entertainment. Beyond helping a college freshman to create a stick to their budget, online money management tools serve to help the student in all forms of financial responsibility.

Set Up Your Online Budgeting Tools The Right Way

With the online tools available, a student can set alarms for bill pay or set up an automatic bill pay service for the regular costs of things such as rent or utilities. In addition, an online money management tool offered by a bank or independent third party will help to assist the student see their total money map, or where their money is being spent, and thus allow them to make changes to their expenditures where necessary.

Along with the aid of an online money management tool, an incoming freshman student can help themselves to regulate their spending and learn quality money habits by using prepaid debit cards or debit cards from their traditional checking or savings accounts. Prepaid debit cards are especially handy for a freshman student because of the fact that prepaid cards eliminate the likelihood of incurring credit card debt.

Consider Using a Prepaid Credit Card

While still maintaining the effectiveness, usefulness, and convenience of a credit card, a prepaid debit card does not allow for an inexperienced young freshman to make big time financial mistakes while using their card. This is made possible by the fact that a prepaid card is a card that has a set amount of prepaid money allotted to the card.

In this way, a prepaid card only allows the card holder, in this case a financially novice freshman, to spend the amount that is on the card and therefore prohibits incurring debt. Prepaid debit cards teach a college freshman how to responsibly handle money by not giving them the temptation of false or fake money that credit cards allude to.

Instead, with a prepaid debit card, a college freshman will be able to regulate their own spending by understanding that there is a set limit to the financial backing on the card. Prepaid debt cards do usually come with a high startup fee initially, however, so those who are considering using one for their freshmen year should shop around for the best deal on a prepaid debit card.

Or, if they choose, an incoming college freshman may wish to use their debit card that their bank gives to them upon the setup of a checking account. Often checking accounts at banks can be set up for little or no cost with a specified minimum to begin the account.

By using money management tools online and using prepaid debit cards or debit cards from their bank a college freshman will be able to learn sound money management techniques. And by learning how to manage their money early during their first year of independence, freshmen will be able to set good financial habits that will aid them throughout their lives.

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