A lot of movies are built on the underdog plot line – boy or girl rises from the slums or the small towns, pursues their education single-mindedly, and takes the world by storm. An outlier, now lands a six figure income job, and all his or her hard work pays off.
That said, in real life, the issue of financing such an education holds a lot of people back.
The costs of education have spiked drastically worldwide. Consider the major education hubs in UK, USA, India, etc. Education is not an option just ‘open’ to hardworking people alone – your wallet has to talk just as loud as your grades.
In the USA, the average student has to shell out on the average $35,000 – $80,000 on the average for a college education. And Ivy League universities such as Harvard, Yale, Colombia as well as others are above this average in cost.
The fact is getting a job or building a professional career with just a high school education is simply not possible is a thing of the past. All that a high school diploma will get you these days is a low level job in a retail store or at the local food store.
Now, it’s not just the college tuition fees that burden students, but also the higher cost of living expenses including accommodation, food and travel.
Some people are in a position to establish college funds for their children at an early so that by the time they reach college age, there is enough money in the bank to put them through four to six years of college.
Without a college fund, other people will have to access loans through the banks at interest rates that are debilitating. What this means is some students will start their professional career with a tremendous amount of debts.
Still, some students have to rely on private loans and scholarships wherever available or settle for the lower cost of a community college. In the USA, the community college system is a saving grace for people who cannot afford private college tuition fees, the other parts of the world that do not have such systems, are still far behind.
In the UK, the Student Loans Company (SLC) allows students to pursue a college education by sponsoring student loans, but again, these are not a viable option for everyone.
Studying abroad is then the next choice for students, but student loans do not cover this and again, they have to bear in mind the cost of living expenses.
In India and the Indian subcontinent generally, professional education is practically a market of its own. There are several major universities for medical and engineering courses, but they come with a hefty price tag. While a few seats are ‘open’ to entrance by examination, majority of universities ‘sell’ seats, or have a 50-50 or 70-30 quota of seats to sell. For example, just getting a medical degree can cost you $100,000-$120,000, plus cost of additional expenses throughout college. A postgraduate medical degree will cost an additional $150,000 to $300,000, or even more, depending on the branch you’re opting for. Engineering placements are less pricey because of the staggering number of engineering colleges in India some of them don’t even have enough students to fill their batches every year. But the high quality education institutions still charge for entrance. And with the lack of student funding or open universities in india, education is not for the poor man.
This comes back to the quality of jobs and placements you can aspire to in later years. A high school diploma versus a college degree? It’s a no brainer. But getting that college degree can cost you years of income before you’ve even started earning – it’s a difficult position to be in, as a student, and a difficult decision to make.
Readers Bureau, Contributor
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