A College Education Has Value Part 2

3 05 2012

I hope you enjoyed hearing about high school and college directly from the mouths of people who are living it now. Of course, I was happy to learn that my sons’ career choices were topping the chart for valuable degrees. Too bad the same can’t be said about my English and literature degree. However, since we’ve already established that I’m pursuing the degree to chase my dream of becoming a published author – it’s all good.

Finishing out the story, I spend some time talking about paying for college ( something which is at the forefront of most of our minds) and share some more statistical data about salaries and loan amounts.

Last time…
Tanner Hughson, 21, and Thad Hughson, 18, talked frankly about being prepared for college.  Let’s hear what they have to say about paying for college.

For many, paying for college seems like an insurmountable issue. Statistics show a positive correlation between rising tuition rates and the average amount of debt incurred while obtaining a bachelor’s degree.  While the tuition rates have increased 92 percent since 2000, the average debt per student rose 18 percent. The College Board now estimates that 60 percent of college graduates will owe $22,700 on average for their four years at university.

Tanner and Thad Hughson are among the numbers who are using student loans to help finance their college education.

“I’ve had summer jobs to pay for living expenses,” Tanner says, “and then loans to pay for school.” He expects he will owe around $20,000 when he graduates in 2013.

Thad didn’t have to worry about his freshman tuition because his parents agreed to pay for the first year of college for their sons. When asked how he would pay for the next three years, Thad replies, “I plan to have a job, scholarships and financial aid.”

Thad has some lofty career goals. “Ultimately, I want to be a business marketer between Japanese and American companies,” Thad explains. He visited Japan as a student ambassador when he was 14 years old and their culture impressed him enough that he hopes to return to Japan someday, possibly to even live there.

Prospects in the business field look bright. Over a million new jobs requiring business degrees are expected to be created between 2008 and 2018, an increase of 17.7 percent.  At $41,100, the median starting salary might keep Thad paying off student loans for quite some time if he incurs the $60,000 of debt he expects.


Even with this burden of debt, college seems like the best choice when comparing average salaries. People with a high school diploma or the equivalent earn an annual median salary of $30,000. The median starting salary for software engineers is $56,700. This makes Tanner’s projected college debt look like a solid investment in his future.


Only ten minutes after the interview ends, Tanner and Thad saunter out of the house to keep a semi-annual cleaning appointment with their dentist. As they drive away, a belt on Tanner’s white Hyundai Tiburon squeals loudly enough to provoke the dog across the street into a barking tirade.
SOURCES: Christian Science Monitor http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/Stefa n-Karlsson/2012/0220/Unemployment-gap-in-education-shrinks-in-US; philly.com; Newsweek Daily Beast http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/05/08/useful-college-majors-from-engineering-to-mathematics-to-business.html; The College Board and the Department of Education National Center for Education http://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator_fgl.asp.




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