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The Role of Education Planning as College Tuition Continues to Rise

A great deal of media attention has been paid to improvements in the overall economy in recent years, particularly since the Great Recession that started in 2008. Many have done well in this economy. Paying for college tuition has been a challenge for many more, though. The cost of attending college continues to increase with each passing year. Many can’t afford to attend so they have to borrow…a lot. Which makes education planning all the more important in this environment.

What is Education Planning?

Education planning involves assisting students and their families in navigating the minefield associated with preparing for and then paying for, a higher education. Significant research and analysis of educational opportunities, sincere professional objectives, and personal considerations are considered well before college begins.

Education planning is far more comprehensive and intensive than an occasional meeting with a guidance counselor. Or taking the SAT or ACT, common strategies employed for years as a means of “preparing for college.” In addition to being a comprehensive process, education planning is also an ongoing one. It used to be that college-prep programs ended when freshman year commenced. Now, education planning involves a plan to pay for undergraduate and sometimes, graduate studies.

The Necessity of College?

For a long time, going to college was the ticket to a ‘better life’. A college education had become something of an intertwined connection to high school. Frequently, young people went to college without any thought about whether that type of education actually made sense for their life goals.

These days?  I would argue that attending college is as necessary as ever. If not for the education, then for the ‘college experience’ of meeting new people and experiencing life’s first taste of being on your own. But the rising cost of an undergraduate education makes the “why” of college that much more important.  

Starting College as an Undeclared Major May be a Thing of the Past

Although there exist no firm statistics in this regard, a considerable number of students began their college careers as undeclared majors 20 to 30 years ago. In other words, students enrolled in college would spend a year or two wandering around the academic universe searching for a course of study that they liked.

In some instances, beginning college without declaring a major caused some to play catchup. Usually, this resulted in a student spending an additional year as an undergraduate. By the beginning of this century, there was a discussion among college administrators and educators that the traditional 4-year course of undergraduate studies was giving way to a more commonplace 5-year one.

Today, because of the rising cost of tuition, an undergraduate typically no longer has the luxury of spending a year, let alone two, wandering the academic wilderness. By engaging in education planning, a student is able to focus their academic and professional interests so that they’ll know what major they’ll pursue.

Professional Education Planning Consultants

Education planning today is far more complex than talking with a guidance counselor. Recently, we’ve seen professional education planning consultants become more commonplace. These professionals work closely with students and their families to decide whether attending college now is the proper course. They also help in picking a course of study. Once a major is decided, they can provide entry-level salary statistics for the major chosen.  After all, given the sizeable investment to attend college, knowing the “return” on your investment is important.

Finally, knowing what education will cost once you attend college is important to know now.  Once you know, you can plan for the cost of attending college.  Because the statistics show it isn’t cheap.

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