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Parent Q&A: Is the high sticker price of college worth it?

Parent: It is really hard to determine the good schools from the
not so good schools.  I try to do research but again not sure what to look
for.  What are your thoughts?

Jason:  I honestly do not think the difference between the quality of schools (good
vs. not so good) is justified by the price differences.  For example,
Washington University in St. Louis is about $66,000 for one year.  Going to
Parkland Community College is around $7,000 (that includes total expenses
and living at home). After two years, a student will have spent $132,000 at
Wash U compared to only $14,000 at Parkland.  That's not even taking into
account they would still need to go two more years to Wash U.

Let's assume the Parkland student transferred to EIU.  EIU is just over
$20,000 a year.  That's $46,000 less than Wash U.

Wash U for four years = $264,000
Parkland for two years then EIU for two years = $54,000

The difference is $210,000.  Will going to Wash U guarantee that the student
will EARN that much more in the work force.  All research says "no."

In regard to quality of education, every year research comes out suggesting
that the top tier schools like Ivy League schools are not necessarily
providing a better education; they just have students that were better
coming in.  This is where we as parents need to be careful: students will
succeed if they work hard REGARDLESS of where they go.  I know people that
are millionaires who went to EIU.  I know people who are successful in every
sense of the term that did not even go to college.

The education provided by a college does not, cannot, guarantee success in
the real world.  College simply provides four years or so where a student to
can grow as a person and a lot of that growth will take place outside of the
college classroom.


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