Weighing the cost of college

March 13, 2019 08:02 PM

Though most students don't bribe their way into school, they are paying more for their degrees. Business Insider estimates that college tuition costs have risen by a whopping 260 percent since 1980.

American colleges saw a steady increase in enrollment numbers until 2010, when enrollment peaked at 18.1 million students. That number then dropped to 16.9 million in 2016. That's according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

NCES also found that the average cost of tuition in 2000 was around $14,700. In 2016, that number almost doubled to about $26,000 a year.

Experts said tuition costs are rising because the schools need more staff to handle the higher volume of students, and they're also getting less funding per student from our state and federal governments.

Because the cost is rising and more people have bachelor's degrees now, some people are looking into other career options, like trade schools. TheBestSchools.org, an educational website, found that enrollment in trade schools nearly doubled between 1999 and 2016.

According to The Simple Dollar, a trade school degree or certification costs about $33,000. That pales in comparison to how much a traditional four-year degree will run you. On average, students pay $127,000 for bachelor's degrees.

Trade workers do make less, on average they bring in about $35,000 a year. Whereas someone who got a four-year degree typically makes about $46,000.

Other things to consider: trade workers complete their certification in two years and can start earning a salary twice as fast as their traditional four-year degree counterparts. Plus the demand for trade workers has been on the rise lately. The need for more skilled workers is only expected to grow as older trade workers begin to retire.

To learn more about how you can get the greatest return on your educational investment, follow these links:

College ROI calculator

College Scorecard

Employment Projections 2016-26


Emily Burkhard

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