College costs are rising at an astronomical rate. In fact, college tuition costs are rising at a rate the eclipses that of inflation three time over. Pick up any newspaper and you will be inundated with news of college tuition costs skyrocketing, student debt loads becoming burdensome and students leaving college at breakneck speeds due to the sudden inability to afford their education.
If you are a parent of a college student, or a college student yourself, you may be well aware of the high costs of a college education. What you may not be aware of, however, are the widespread effects that these costs have on college students and America’s higher education system. Here are five things that you might not know:
1. Community Colleges are Experiencing an All-Time High in Enrollment Figures
Community colleges, in the past, have been thought of as a last resort for graduating seniors. Kids who didn’t have grades good enough to gain them entry into a four year college or university went to community, or junior, college. Today, students are using community college to complete their first two years of college at lower tuition rates before transferring to four-year schools. Additionally, adults are re-enrolling in community colleges at record numbers, hoping to jump start a new career or light a fire under their current one.
2. More Graduates Than Ever Are Moving Back Home
Traditionally, a student graduated from college with a four-year degree, entered the work force and set out on their own life. Close to 85 percent of today’s college graduates are moving home immediately after graduation, sitting through months of unemployment and depending on their guardians for help in making minimum student loan payments.
3. College Graduation Rates are Falling
Rather than being able to concentrate full-time on their studies, many students are attending college part-time and holding down full-time jobs in order to meet the costs associated with their education. About 40 percent of students attend school part-time and only a quarter of these students will graduate. For those students that attend full-time, only 60 percent will earn their bachelor’s degree in under eight years.
4. Enrollment in Graduate School is Also Falling
Students who graduate from four-year colleges carry with them an often tremendously high amount of debt load. This debt, coupled with a poor economy and the high cost of graduate school, may be a contributing factor in the decline in graduate school enrollment.
5. High Demand Fields Are Facing a Shortage
Social work, teaching and elder care, along with other public service jobs, are field where there is always a high demand for qualified, highly-educated employees. Because the salaries in these positions are often too low to pay back student loans, students are neglecting these sectors in lieu of majors that will promise higher-paying jobs.
What is The Answer?
If the rising costs of tuition are causing you to consider alternative routes to your future, you may want to consider attending an online college rather than a traditional university. Online colleges often offer lower tuition rates as well as the ability to save money in other areas: gas, transportation, food and relocation.
Online colleges are quickly coming to the forefront for parents and students who are looking at a more affordable alternative for higher education. If you choose to look into online education, seek out a school that is accredited, affordable and offers the program of study that you desire. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that an online university is a very real alternative to often times less affordable traditional colleges.
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