The value of a university degree is not what it was in the past . When we speak about the “value” of a diploma , we are speaking about the earnings you will receive on your investment . Certain degrees of study can get students in to high paying jobs, but some others can give students with little chance of employment that will be worth the cost of the degree they have earned . Studies in Engineering/Science , Information Technology , and other in demand degrees can earn students an excellent anual salary and possibilities for future advancement . But there are some studies that can leave you either with out a job or get you into a job with a salary that is much lower than will make a degree worth the expense .
In today’s high school education environment , being accepted to a university is the ultimate ending . There are even television ads that show the excitement of future college students being “accepted” to college. Unfortunately, colleges are accepting students that are not able to handle the the rigor of a college education. Universities are making a fortune remedial classes for new freshmen that are not ready for university level courses . It used to be that if someone had been out of school for a while and working in the job force for many years, those remedial courses would be offered to help refresh his or her skills so that he or she could goto the college environment . Now, freshmen right out of high school need remedial classes . These “remedial” courses cost the same per credit hour as regular college classes. They are often taught by a teacher’s assistant or graduate students instead of normal university faculty. Also, these classes usually do not count towards a college degree. The courses will increase the overall cost of the degree and therefore reduce the “value” of the degree earned. Here is an example. Let’s say I go to a university with a cost of $450 per university credit. Most college classes will earn you three credits. Now say I need this list of remedial courses : Beginning Algebra, Intermediate Algebra, and Intro to Writing. The first semester I will need to take Beginning Algebra and Intro to Writing. So I have scheduled 6 credits of remedial courses and now I need 3 more class (15 credits total) to finish my schedule. I look at the courses I need for my first freshmen semester . I notice that there are only 2 additional classes I can enroll in because the other courses have a “concurrent” course requirement. A concurrent course requirement means that I have to either be enrolled in the class or have already taken it before. I am not allowed to enroll in English 101 because I have to pass the remedial English class first. So, I can only take 6 more credits for a total of 12 credit hours. I am now 9 credits behind (six for the remedial courses and three because of the concurrent requirement). This means that I will have to go to school for an extra semester to recover those missing credits. It is not only tuition I have to pay for in the extra semester . I also have to pay student fees, technology usage fees, parking fees, and other types of fees depending on the university . These fees can run thousands of dollars, depending on the college . Now add to this the $4,500 in tuition I still have to pay for the recovery of missed credits. I finally graduate from college and I may or may not be hired . Unfortunately my student loans start coming due the day I graduate.
So, what should this mean for freshmen ready to enter college, post-secondary education, or the job market ? Do your research. Make sure that you are not wasting your time and money earning a degree that will not help you get into a carreer that will make the amount of income you expect to earn . I am not saying that you shouldn’t go to college to get a degree that is not in high demand or does not pay well (compared to other degrees). Just make sure you understand what you are getting into . After graduating, if you will have a starting salary of $32,000 per year, you may not want to go to a college that costs $40,000 per year. Your student loan payments can be as much as a home mortgage (4 x $40,000 = $160,000). If you really want to take remedial classes so you can attend regular college courses , use a less expensive resource like community colleges or tutoring. Once these courses are completed, you can move on to the university . You probably saved your self $4000 to $5000.