The College Payment Struggle and Why It’s Still Worth It

Money, cell phone and soda by espensorvik is licensed under CC BY 2.0

“Money, cell phone and soda” by espensorvik is licensed under CC BY 2.0

For many, including myself, the sticker price of universities in America is quite frankly terrifying.

Looking locally, the cheapest state university in my area would still put me a whopping $80,000 in debt with no financial aid assistance.

But it’s still worth it. Here’s why:

First of all, you won’t be paying full price. Nobody does. As long as your high school grades are somewhat intact from the freshman-junior year, you can get some large sums of money to significantly knock down that mind-boggling price.

Next, file your FASFA. No matter how privileged you are, there is a good chance that you can get SOME kind of federal aid. This is largely due to many students not bothering to do this. According to a 2018 publishing by the US Department of Education, 24% of students didn’t file their FASFA, essentially leaving money on the table.

After this, look for outside sources of funding such as miscellaneous grants and scholarships. There are scholarships for just about anything you can think of. Left-handedness, boy scouts, lifeguards, the list goes on.

All things considered, the cost of college shouldn’t be insurmountable.

Now that we have that out of the way, why is this much trouble for college worth it?

It’s all about money.

In this day and age, it is very much possible to get a job without a four-year college degree. However, these jobs have low ceilings.

Gas prices are nearly $4 a gallon in the suburbs. If you work a job that pays $12 an hour and you have a car with an average-sized gas tank, (~12.5 gallons), one fill-up costs over half a day’s work. This compared to the 2017 estimated starting wage of a college graduate at $19.18, (via CNBC), on fill-up is about a quarter day’s work. The choice seems obvious.

While yes, these grads are set a bit back being forced to pay off student loans, the amount of time it takes to meet those that didn’t go to college is not that much.

To quote an article by New York Times columnist David Leonhardt titled “A $20 Million Gift for College,” “The evidence remains overwhelming: College is the single most reliable path to the middle class and beyond. No, it doesn’t guarantee a good life. Nothing does. But earning a good living without a college degree today is difficult.”