The true value of your college education

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - We regularly discuss the challenging aspects of funding a college education.

Another perspective to consider is the expected compensation you hope to earn with your degree in-hand; relative to the cost you have incurred to get there.

Dan Ament, Financial Advisor with Morgan Stanley in Wayzata joined KARE 11 Sunrise to discuss your options.

Bad news ... Tuition up 72% vs. avg. earnings down 14% (2000-2010): Student debt rose a staggering 72% from 2000 - 2010, more than twice the rate of inflation. This compares to full-time workers age 25-34 with Bachelor's degrees that saw their average earnings over the same time drop by 14.7% (Sources: Citi Research, College Board, US Dept of Educ, and Census Bureau)

Good news .... Lower unemployment rate / higher income: As of the end of 2011, high-school only workers were unemployed at a rate of 9.4% while those with a bachelor's degree had an unemployment rate of 4.9%. In addition, those holding a bachelor's degree earned an average $400/week or about $20,000 more than a high school grad. (Bureau of Labor and Statistics)

Student loan delinquency rates surpass other consumer debt: The student loan delinquency rates now exceed those of credit card, mortgage and other consumer debt. The crippling effect of student debt on grads impacts home purchase decisions, starting a family and clearly the ability to save for retirement. (FRBNY Consumer Credit Panel / Equifax)

About 93% of student loans are Federal Loans: Stafford loans account for more than three fourths of Federal loans; and they impose no credit standards. One question is whether student loans are too easy to obtain. (U.S. Dept of Education)

Think of college expense as an investment: Approach and evaluate the cost of college as an investment. Does the cost and benefits of school you are considering match that of your ideal career path and its related earnings potential? According to the Department of Education, just over half the people who started a college degree in 2000 completed their degree in six years. Not finishing your degree saddles you with debt of college without the added earnings power that a degree can offer.


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