Choosing the Right HigherEd Degree Infographic

 Source: http://www.gradschoolhub.com/choosing/

Choosing the Right Degree

What matters most when choosing a graduate degree? Money? Doing something you love? The journey to finding the right master’s degree can be a long one.

What Do You Want?

– Consider these options when choosing a graduate school:

  • Location
  • Quality of life
  • Degree programs offered
  • Cost
  • Time
  • Resources
  • Faculty
  • On-campus or online
  • Ranking
  • Accreditation

“Love what you do and do what you love.” – Ray Bradbury, author

What Do You Like?

– Think about the things in your life that excite you. There may well be a master’s degree option that allows you to truly do what you love.

The Realistic Path

– If you like to…

  • Do things with your hands
  • Be outside
  • Work with real-world materials
  • Work solo

– Consider these fields: farmer/rancher, surveyor, forester, mechanical drafter, technician, firefighter, correctional officer, animal control worker, chef, landscaping, carpenter, explosive worker, machine operator, repairer, machinist, agricultural inspector, animal breeder, jeweler, precious-metals worker, pilot
– Possible degree
– Oregon State University
– Master of Forestry
– Average graduate tuition
– Resident: $13,188
– Non-resident: $21,219

The Investigative Path

– If you like to…

  • Do an extensive amount of thinking
  • Mentally search for facts and figures

– Consider these fields: coroner, computer and information scientist, engineer, animal scientist, biologist, physicist, chemist, economist, anthropologist, archeologist, geographer, historian, political scientist, astronomer, sociologist, dentist, nutritionist, veterinarian, detective
– Possible degree
– University of Colorado-Denver
– Master of Science in Chemistry
– Average graduate tuition
– Resident: $5,087
– Non-resident: $15,619

The Artistic Path

– If you like to…

  • Work with form, design and pattern
  • Express yourself
  • Not follow a clear set of rules

– Consider these fields: architect, art director, fine artist, animator, fashion designer, actor, dancer, musician, graphic designer, interior designer, creative writer, film editor, makeup artist, choreographer
– Possible degree
– Parsons The New School for Design, New York City
– Master of Fashion Studies
– Average graduate tuition
– $20,855

The Social Path

– If you like to…

  • Work with, communicate and teach people
  • Help others

– Consider these fields: social worker, probation officer, counselor, health educator, clergy, teacher, nurse, physical therapist, athletic trainer, speech-language pathologist, child care worker
– Possible degree
– Loyola University (Illinois)
– Master of Social Work
– Average graduate tuition
– $13,950

The Enterprising Path

– If you like to…

  • Start and carry out projects
  • Make many decisions
  • Take risks
  • Deal with business

– Consider these fields: chief executive, general manager, legislator, manager, education administrator, funeral director, logisticians, producer, program director, copy writer, head cook, special agent, PR specialist, insurance agent, product promoter, ship captain
– Possible degree
– Central Michigan University
– Master of Science in Administration
– Average graduate tuition
– $7,305

The Conventional Path

– If you like to…

  • Follow set procedures and routines
  • Work with data and details
  • Follow authority

– Consider these fields: treasurer, controller, insurance adjuster, accountant, auditor, financial analyst, loan officer, tax preparer, database administrator, librarian, medical transcriptionist, proofreader, inspector
– Possible degree
– William & Mary, Williamsburg, Va.
– Master of Accounting
– Average graduate tuition
– Resident: $29,610
– Non-resident: $40,010

Know Your Financial Aid Options

– To be sure, financing a graduate degree can be an expensive proposition. But consider the various types of financial aid available.

  • Scholarships
  • Grants
  • Veteran’s education benefits
  • Loans
  • Employer-based aid
  • Teaching and research assistantships

It’s About Getting a Job, Right?

Top graduate degrees for pay and career growth through 2020:

Mid-career pay Projected growth by 2020

– 1. Physician assistant studies $97,000 30%
– 2. Computer science $109,000 22.3%
– 3. Electrical engineering $121,000 17.7%
– 4. Mathematics (tie) $91,000 24.7%
– 4. Information systems (tie) $95,500 23.3%
– 6. Physics $114,000 20.3%
– 7. Occupational therapy $79,200 33%
– 8. Healthcare administration $87,800 22%
– 9. Nursing $85,900 21.7%
– 10. Economics $115,000 14.3%

Time an Issue? Consider Online

Top online graduate schools:

  • Washington State University 
    Cost: $509 per credit
    Top programs: Business and engineering
  • Duke University – Fuqua School of Business 
    Cost: $6,381per year
    Top programs: MBA, executive MBA
  • St. John’s University 
    Cost: $35,520 per year
    Top programs: Law, education
  • Carnegie Mellon University 
    Cost: $453-$540 per credit hour
    Top programs: Engineering, business, computer science
  • Stanford University
    Cost: $890 per credit hour
    Top programs: Law, engineering, medicine
  • Columbia University
    Cost: $628 per credit hour
    Top programs: Engineering, computer information technology
  • Penn State University
    Cost: $8,222 per year, in-state
    Top programs: Clinical psychology, engineering, education
  • Arizona State University
    Cost: $463 per credit hour
    Top programs: Engineering, education
  • Central Michigan University
    Cost: $477 per credit hour
    Top programs: Business, education
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
    Cost: $1,100 per credit hour
    Top programs: Production/operations, supply chain/logistics, chemical engineering, civil engineering, physics

SOURCES
– http://www.campusexplorer.com
– http://mappingyourfuture.org
– http://oregonstate.edu
– http://www.ucdenver.edu
– http://www.newschool.edu
– http://www.luc.edu
– http://global.cmich.edu
– http://mason.wm.edu
– http://www.emory.edu
– http://www.forbes.com

College Grads: The New Debt Slaves

college-grad-debt-slave
Despite growing evidence of unemployed college graduates, under-employed college graduates (working a job that doesn’t require an advanced degree), and over a TRILLION dollars in College Debt, it concerns me that a “4-year College Education” is still being sold to high school students as their ONLY hope for success after graduation. Are students being sold into college debt slavery?

The college tuition costs of today are NOT the costs of yesteryear for many who advise young people AND, there are so many different options for learning, earning, and enjoying a career. [Full Disclosure:  All three of my own children attended college and, there was preliminary awareness and a plan in place prior.]

If a college graduate can’t get a job or, the job they do get doesn’t pay well, they’re not going to be able to pay on their expensive student loans. The consequences can have a long term impact never imagined–maybe even resulting in wage garnishments, judgments, or as the recent trend: Colleges Suing Their Own Students For Repayment.

What’s the solution?

I came across this article by Chriss W. Street and thought the supporting evidence from financial institution sites to be a compelling in confirming a scary, financial scenario.

 College Graduates Are the New Debt Slaves

With the estimated cost of attending a four year state college in America at $120,000, the average family of four should expect their children’s college to cost more than buying a home.  Even though only 24% of Americans believe college is affordable, 97% still believe getting a college degree is financially important to improve your life.  This optimism regarding the value of education has provided the justification for 60% of the 20 million students in college last year to borrow $42 billion from the United States government this year to stay in school.  But with the reward for a college degree falling and default rates sky-rocketing, many students and their parents will end up as the student loan debt slaves.

College tuitions since 1986 have risen by a breath taking 498%, compared to 115% for general price inflation.  The main driver for this hyper-inflation was the dramatic expansion of the Federal Stafford Loans since 1992, following Congress’ elimination of requirement that government-backed student loans be subject to parental income restrictions.  The most enticing aspect of these sub-prime loans is that repayment is deferred while a student is enrolled as at least a half-time student, then are subject to a grace period for six months after the student leaves school either by graduating, dropping below half-time enrollment, or withdraws.  The sudden access to billions of dollars in “free money” allowed highly unionized colleges to dramatically increase tuition rates without fear of driving away financially strapped under-graduates.

For students graduating this year with a four year degree, college sounded like a good financial investment when they first enrolled in 2008.  At that time, the median annual earnings of young adults with bachelor’s degrees was $46,000, versus only $30,000 for those with high school diplomas or equivalencies.   This means that on average, the bachelor’s degree salary beat a high school diploma by 53%.  But average salary means that half of graduates make more than $46,000 and half make less.  Eliminate engineering, economics and accounting degrees, the starting salary drops below $42,000.  Graduate with an education, sociology or creative arts degree and the starting salary drops below to $36,000.

In 1970, when the overall unemployment rate was 4.9 percent, unemployment among college graduates was negligible, at 1.2 percent.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that with the current national unemployment rate of 7.9%, unemployment for college graduates is substantially better at 3.7%.  But many college graduates over the Great Recession have been forced to “trade down” to take $9 an hour starting jobs at Wal-Mart, FedEx and Starbucks.

Student loans just passed the $1 trillion dollar mark and continue to be the fastest growing consumer debt in the United States.  The total percentage of Americans with 1 or more student loans has increased from 12.1% to 19% over the last seven years.  Average student loan debt was $17,233 in 2005, but the level has swelled by 58% to $27,253 in 2012.  In contrast, outstanding consumer credit cards and car loans balances in the U.S. actually shrank during the same period.

Lending to people who did not have to qualify to borrow and will not begin paying money back until after they have consumed the product, has created a colossal new sub-prime lending crisis.  Over the last two years, the default rate on student loans, according to the New York Federal Reserve’s quarterly credit report, rose from 8.5% in 2011, to 11% by September 2012.   The U.S. Department of Education reports the current default rate is 13.4% and estimates that 40% of student debt required to be in repayment status is not performing according to the original loan terms.

A generation of Americans has gone deep into debt for their education.  Some will pay-off their loans, but many will default or seek loan modifications.  Those defaulting on a student loans will face dire consequences, beyond a bad credit record — which can tarnish hopes of getting a car, an apartment or even a job.  Under law, the U.S. government can attach their wages, tax refunds and even inheritance.  Unlike other consumer borrowers with onerous debt, student loans are specifically ineligible for compromise or rejection under the United States Bankruptcy Code.  Going to college may still be the best time of a person’s life, but millions of students and their families are doomed to a life as student loan debt slaves.