Low-cost college means better value

Going to a lower cost college means getting the most value out of your college tuition


Connor Niebruegge

Going to a lower cost college should always be on the forefront of the student and parents minds.

Ryan Moore, Editor-in-Chief

As the school year approaches the end of the third quarter many seniors are faced with the question, Where are you going to college? And as the deadline for submitting enrollment draws closer and closer, students who haven’t made a decision are racked with the anxiety of how much of their future relies on this simple choice. It’s not just seniors either. For some, it began in grade school. But for many, the fear of screwing up is instilled once you begin high school. Parents, teachers, and even older students instill the fear that if you screw up your grades you will never be successful because you won’t get into a “prestigious” school, but instead of focusing on the prestige students should focus on cost.

Keeping college low cost should be the number one priority when making your college decision

Studies of United States public and private universities show that people do equally well in income, job satisfaction, and life satisfaction. No matter if the person got all C’s and went to a school like Mizzou, or got all A’s and went to Harvard. However, schools don’t tell the students that. Instead, students are shamed for not making the honors list, not because the teachers and parents want them to be excited and take interest in a subject, but because they want them to go to a good college. Instead of focusing on college, getting good grades should be for the betterment of the self and establishing good habits. This is a better version of reality and something students could better align themselves with because it is more individualistic.

Keeping college low cost should be the number one priority when making your college decision ”

One of the most important factors in college planning is financials. Parents and students need to look at what they can afford instead of taking ridiculously high loans. In 2016 the average loan a student took to get through school was $37,172. If a 2016 graduate took the standard repayment plan for the $37,172 borrowed – 10 years, at 4.29% interest rate – they would be paying $382 a month for the next decade. The reality is a degree is a degree no matter what school you went to. If it doesn’t matter for income, life satisfaction, and job satisfaction why are we willing to go into so much debt for the prestige of these big schools?

Although for some students’ degrees require certain colleges, like engineering, for the majority of students the choice of college should line up with the lowest-cost available. This means working hard in school, getting scholarships, and seeing what college offers you the best value for the lowest price.

College tuition price is increasing at a rate of 8% per year and because of that, the percentage of parents willing to pay for college goes down. In 2019 the percentage of parents that paid for their kids’ college tuition was just 29%. If you are in the 71% that is going to pay for a little bit or all of your college don’t get caught up in the idea that private colleges will offer you so much more than low-cost opportunities like Meremac CC, UMSL, and Mizzou. The degree will be the same, but at these colleges, you will have little to no debt and be ready to go into the workforce.