As you begin to plan for life after high school, college will probably cross your mind. Whether you're looking for the thrill of cheering for your team with thirty thousand of your closest friends or the quiet of nights spent in the library, college can be an incredibly rewarding experience that helps to ease you into adult life. However, despite all the benefits colleges worldwide offer their students, there is one major downside: the price.
The cost of college has dramatically increased in recent years. In fact, in the past ten years, the average price of college has risen by nearly 25%, causing eighty percent of high school students to worry about affording their education. But you know what hasn't increased at the same rate? The salaries of recent college grads. In fact, in the last thirty years, the average entry-level salary for recent grads only increased 14%.
So, what does this mean? One word: debt.
To cover college's exorbitant cost, most students must take out some sort of student loans. However, with the price of college increasing and salaries remaining reasonably stable, it is becoming increasingly difficult for recent grads to pay back their loans. Many graduates report feeling constant anxiety knowing that they owe six-figures before even receiving their diploma. With the burden of debt, the thought of paying for social activities—such as going out to dinner or traveling to a friend's wedding—on top of your necessary expenses becomes stressful. Thus, having significant student debt can define your experiences during your first few years in the working world.
Consequently, you can probably understand how carefully you should consider the price of colleges and universities you wish to attend. As you begin to search for colleges, be sure to have a candid conversation with your parents about your plan to finance your education. The cost of college is climbing each year, so you don't want to be caught unprepared.