Not way back when I was approached by a fellow who works for an Internet training company. The CEO had just posed a provocative question on their web site. The question asked was whether a university education is worth the money. Is there enough of a return on the investment of tens of thousands, maybe even thousands of dollars for everybody who goes? The author, Dave Dunn, cited figures that projected the expenses of sending his three children to private colleges several years into the future.

1,000,000. He used that million-money number to improve the issue. Apart from the obvious fact that no one has to go directly to the priciest private universities (unless on a full scholarship!), his point is one that we still, as grandparents and parents should ask. The mess that has been the university loan industry has been around the news headlines.

100,000 for out-of-state attendees. Triple that for a top flight Ivy League or private university and there is certainly serious money involved. When I was in high school, it was expected that everyone who could afford to do so would go to four years of university after graduation. For all those with limited means, two-calendar year junior colleges (now community colleges) were a choice.

Technical universities were designed for those with mechanical interests. But, in my own neighborhood of suburban Boston, college was just a given. As post-senior high school education became increasingly expensive, folks started to ask the question: is college right and necessary for everyone? Well, for some professions like doctor or attorney the answer was, and remains, yes. But, think about for other careers or job pathways? How many need a four-year degree versus shorter, specialized experience and training?

For this post, I raise the question because grandparents are asked for help in sending a grandchild to university sometimes, or of their own volition set up a college finance for a child’s child. If the money is available is college always the best option? Do we accept that a high school graduate might leave university already seriously in debt?

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I have freely admitted that the money my parents spent on me was mainly wasted. I experienced decided on my profession path while an adolescent barely. My chosen profession did not require a university education. During my last two years in university I worked full time at a radio station in town almost, learning my art and improving my future leads.

My college classes were an interruption. In my case, the college was somewhat wasted on the young. I wish I could have attended college after I was older. I would have possessed the maturity and intellectual attention to have made full use of what college is meant to do: teach one to think and find out critically and separately. Before anyone begins leaving nasty responses, I will inform you that I understand that carrying on one’s education after senior high school is vital for the development of many of the abilities for success inside our technologically oriented world. High School graduates face a daunting task to endure and flourish.

When used to its fullest, those extra years of schooling can be considered a building block to a gratifying and full life. But, with a college education is becoming something that is being priced out of reach of most however the well-to-do, we should ask if a traditional college is always the best choice. And, as grandparents, whether we pay part of the bill or not, year institution is within the needs of the young adult we should ask if four. What do you consider?

How critical is that diploma? Maybe the amount of debt often required justified? Think about on-line college degrees, where most of the ongoing work is done, at home, with only limited classroom time required? Technical colleges are available for practically any career choice readily. Community colleges are suffering from well past just being a feeder system for four-year schools. Maybe the time away at school important in one’s development as a grown-up? Could it be more than classes and study just?

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