I have been thinking lately about the topic of maximizing the ROI of a diploma. Doing so has to take into account any student loans individuals have. On April 26, 2015, the Wilmington News Journal published a story entitled The Rising, Long-Term Cost of a Diploma. This article reported the following scary facts:
- Nearly 70% of seniors who graduated in 2013 had some form of student loan.
- More than 43 million Americans owe a record $1.16 trillion in student loans.
- That averages to $27,000/person in debt before (s)he even starts a career.
The percentage of delinquent loans-those overdue by more than 90 days-doubled from 6 percent in 2005 to 12 percent in 2013…only 37 percent of borrowers are current on their loans and actively paying them down.
What was even scarier to me is that, according to Vanguard Group, student debt load has doubled over the past eight years and is growing at an average of 11% annually.
I worry less about whether this is pending financial disaster for the U.S., like the recent real estate mortgage crisis, and more about whether our students are getting the return on their investment of money as well as time to get these degrees.
The recession also convinced greater numbers of high school seniors to seek a college degree in the hopes a higher education would give them a leg up in the dwindling job market.
But I wonder:
Do these students know what career they seek before they take on this investment?
Does that career even require the degree they seek?
Will that career bring them joy and success? Is it the right career for them or will they be miserable AND in deep debt once they get it?
Is the return on investment worth it?
What if these students had a really good idea of the career they targeted, had good data that it was a good fit for them personally, and could get make the minimal investment in education to land a job there? Wouldn’t we all be better off?
It is possible. Prospective students can get that insight. One way is with a Know Thyself Guide®. An investment of only 45 minutes and $29.95 could at best cut the student loan investment to the barest minimum and at least increase the potential return on that investment.