Early this week I wrote about Gen Y college debt, and put the post up on Brazen Careerist with the question, “If you could do it over, would you attend a less expensive school”. The question really struck a chord.
When I was growing up in the late 1970’s most middle class families were able to bear the cost of college because only about 45% of high school students went to college, so it was much less competitive and therefore much less expensive to attend. The tables have turned to such a degree that the majority of Americans today cannot afford to attend college and therefore must rely on loans, grants and scholarships, or a combination of the above. It’s a terrible dilemma that’s getting worse given the widening split between rich and poor in this country.
So what can we do to effect change in this country? Many students at small liberal arts colleges who take on debt find themselves going through money quickly. Some make the decision to switch to a less expensive state school, but others simply drop out, leaving behind unpaid loans and increasing their long-term vulnerability in the job market. One person commented on Brazen Careerist that it’s important for high school students and parents to get a handle on all of the options that are out there to help pay for college. But many high schools are large and underfunded, sometimes with just two guidance counselors to help 300 kids, so how does that work?
I thought I would end here by naming a number of resources for high-performing students who need help paying for college. I’d appreciate your input if you have more to share!