This week the University of Texas system Coordinating Board has agreed to raise tuition for most of its colleges according to the Brownsville Herald. For our students here at UTB/TSC, the raise will mean an additional $164 per semester hour beginning in Fall of 2011. (This doesn't sound bad until you calculate for a full time student that is $1,680.00 additional each semester.)
What do we do about this? Encourage students to NOT take out loans! Sorry you were probably thinking I was going to give old 60's advice to take over the ivory tower.
Students that take out excessive loans in anticipation of a great paying job, don't always realize what that "great paying" job really may pay. To a student surviving on $10,000 a year, $35,000 starting pay sounds like a lot. We, of course, chuckle at this. The next mistake is thinking that the interest is "really low" on a college loan so it is ok to borrow a lot. They say this until they have to start making payments and not see the principal go down.
Their college payoff is often shockingly close to the amount of money they would pay for their first house. Add a new car to get to the job, a couple business suits, and they are over their head at the starting gate of a new career.
So, encourage the students to consider these things:
- Economize now to make the college financial investment work.
- Visit the career center to calculate what jobs in their field really pay. Are they in the right major?
- Fine tune their bilingual skills and head north after graduation.
- Remind them that most job applications require a college transcript. Grades are one of the factors employers use to pick the top candidate.
I look at the tuition now and wonder how I would have made it today!