It’s not a bad thing to want a great education. Moreover, it’s not an evil thing to want to be accepted into an Ivy League or other schools well known for rigorous academic programs. But by getting into one of these prestigious institutions, you should really take into consideration how much debt you will be in once you’ve received your degree.
Time after time, these universities are thought of as the cream of the crop and launching pads for the upper echelon of society. U.S. News recently published its list of the top 10 schools in the country, and the usual suspects were all included: Ivies like Princeton, Harvard, and Yale, plus the academically demanding University of Chicago, Columbia and Stanford all took the top spots. But what these schools have in common with their renowned curriculum, they also have in common with their high tuition rates and that can be a big problem for students that may not come from privileged backgrounds. It can mean years of paying off debt. This is an issue that Adrian Ridner, the CEO and co-founder of Study.com, takes to heart.
Each of these schools has a tuition north of $45,000 per year, and as Ridner sees it, that is just too much money to be paying for an education. “If you’re going to go into $200,000 plus worth of debt, It’s not worth going to these schools,” Ridner says, “You look at the student debt crisis, we have over 1.4 trillion dollars in student debt in the United States. Over 44 million students have debt an average debt of $34,000 for their college career.”
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Ridner believes that these schools can offer a huge leg up to any student that is lucky enough to be accepted. But if the cost is unrealistic, you should choose a school that makes sense for you financially and for the major, you want to pursue. This kind of debt can negatively impact the rest of your life and make it hard for you to enjoy the benefits of earning such a coveted degree. “If you’re getting a full ride, if you’re getting significant financial aid or if you are fortunate enough to be able to afford it, there are some marginal benefits,” says Ridner.“The brand name can help you to unlock some doors. But in reality, if you get into $200,000 of debt It will impact the rest of your life”.
This might be a sobering realization for anyone lucky enough to receive an acceptance letter from any of these schools. But as Ridner sees it, your education is only as good as you make it and employers are only going to focus on the experience you gain during your time in college rather than your actual degree. Finding valuable internships and activities that can build up your professional experience before you graduate will give you as big a leg up as an expensive diploma. “You can get a good education anywhere, it’s really about the effort you put into it,” he says, “college is really the beginning. You’ll have many opportunities to learn on the job.”