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'The High Price of Not Completing College in Four Years' (WSJ)

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Some FWFers may want to share with dependents/hangers-on:

How can you save over $20,000 on college costs? Graduate on time.

At four-year schools, only about 40% of full-time students graduate on time, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, part of the U.S. Department of Education.

For some students, it is because they sign up for too few courses in certain semesters and don’t earn enough credits in time. Other students can enroll in too many courses that don’t count toward a degree. In still other cases, students have to work to cover their expenses, which sometimes interferes with studies.

Such delays add up. An additional year of school in a public four-year college will cost $22,826, on average, according to the nonprofit Complete College America. Then there is lost income to consider. Students who stay in school an additional year miss out on about $45,327 in salary, on average.

All told, Complete College America estimates that an extra year of college can cost as much as $68,153.

more: https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-high-price-of-not-completing-co...

 

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Anecdotally this was true for my college roommates. The 5 of us lived together for two years in an on campus townhouse.

I majored in Chemistry and had all my credits and graduated in 4 years. I dropped one course along the way and made it up another semester. Myself and two peers also needed to petition the Registrar to offer a 4th year Inorganic Chemistry class that was not offered (but required) to graduate.

My other 4 roommates all walked at graduation BUT all 4 needed need to complete at least one additional course to get a diploma. They majored in Graphic Design, Physician Assistant, Architecture, and Accounting. My sister need to retake German II (a summer course) to earn a diploma is Psychology - one extra year to take that course. My buddy finished his BS in Engineering in 4 years, his brother took 9 years to get a degree in Industrial Arts.

As with anything in life, if "students" don't take college seriously and plan accordingly, bad stuff will happen.

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Wall Street Journal now writing articles about opportunity cost econ 101 stuff... great. In other news, water still wet.

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With the rising cost of college and ineffectiveness of schools in general I could see less and less need of a degree in 10 years. As a Managing director over a software consulting practice, I don't look at college degrees any longer.

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raspar said:   With the rising cost of college and ineffectiveness of schools in general I could see less and less need of a degree in 10 years. As a Managing director over a software consulting practice, I don't look at college degrees any longer.
  Conversely, my employer requires to have a masters degree in order for an officer level promotion. No exceptions.

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raspar said:   With the rising cost of college and ineffectiveness of schools in general I could see less and less need of a degree in 10 years. As a Managing director over a software consulting practice, I don't look at college degrees any longer.
  The 5 most recent hires at my company (large bank) are some of the brightest folks I've ever worked with and none of them have bachelors degrees. Seems that many institutions can't keep up with the rate of specialization occurring in the tech sector.

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One thing to consider (from personal experience) - emphasize high school college equivalent courses with testing for college credits (AP, IB, etc). Taking a number of those courses my junior and senior year of high school let me skip almost a full semester. Due to the structure of my engineering courses, I didn't graduate early, but I took a lot of classes off-semester from the majority of the graduating class, which allowed for much smaller class sizes, better professors, and even my senior year of only taking 12 credits (minimum for full time) to allow for part time work in a lab and focusing on my senior project. And beer drinking.

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tuphat said:   
Such delays add up. An additional year of school in a public four-year college will cost $22,826, on average, according to the nonprofit Complete College America. Then there is lost income to consider. Students who stay in school an additional year miss out on about $45,327 in salary, on average.
https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-high-price-of-not-completing-co...

 

Actually, assuming they both work to the same age, it's the last year of earnings the 5 year college graduate forgoes, not the first. The cost is much, much higher.

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Yeah, but whats the value of a couple college semesters in your 20s with a light class load? At my age, I would value it at $PRI,CEL,ESS lol can't go back in time.

My dad had the income to pay for my college, but was horrible with money, so I ended up getting loans for the majority. He promised to pay the loans after I graduated. After about a year and a half of hassling him every couple months, I gave up and have been paying myself for 10+ years. So in that sense, I'm kinda glad I graduated in 4 years, because I'd be the one paying for the extra year. Then again, maybe it would have been worth it. But if my parents had paid for it, man I would be upset that I didn't goof off for 5 years rather than 4. Nearly all my friends took 5 year and they loved it.

My son, on the other hand... He'll be joining the military if he wants to go to college!

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ach1199 said:   
raspar said:   With the rising cost of college and ineffectiveness of schools in general I could see less and less need of a degree in 10 years. As a Managing director over a software consulting practice, I don't look at college degrees any longer.
  Conversely, my employer requires to have a masters degree in order for an officer level promotion. No exceptions.

  
This should mean they will pay for required masters program...right?

Rasheed

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With the all the costs of a college education it makes no sense anymore to be a teacher and in Southern States make $30K a year...Don't let your son or daughter become a teacher.

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rasheedb said:   
ach1199 said:   
raspar said:   With the rising cost of college and ineffectiveness of schools in general I could see less and less need of a degree in 10 years. As a Managing director over a software consulting practice, I don't look at college degrees any longer.
  Conversely, my employer requires to have a masters degree in order for an officer level promotion. No exceptions.

  
This should mean they will pay for required masters program...right?

Rasheed

 
Yes, we do have a tuition reimb program.

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I will not encourage my children to go to a 4 year college for a degree. My personal experience tells me it isnt needed for most people. My dad had a degree, my mom did not go to college. Mom has always earned more than dad. I never even considered going to college, as even high school was a major time waster. I am not saying I did not learn. I just could have learned with a lot less time actually spent in school. Other than my first year out of high school, I have always earned more than both of my parents combined. Throughout my career, the individuals I have hired that have degrees and are in their 20s have not found employment in the field they studied and have unbelieavable student debt. And most of them have been required to pay to take worthless classes that shove someone elses socio-political ideals down their throats, while neglecting to provide an education that will be of value in the workplace. Many do not have common sense and the skills necessarry to do the jobs available to them. So, I am doing what my parents did for me, I am raising my children to have a strong work ethic, trying to teach them how to think for themselves, be logical, analytical, and use common sense, and trying to give them at-home supplementary education that will allow them to support themselves as adults. Im not interested in having a 20 somthing child with a college degree living in my basement until student debt is paid, or until the right job becomes available. 

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snnistle said:   I will not encourage my children to go to a 4 year college for a degree. My personal experience tells me it isnt needed for most people. My dad had a degree, my mom did not go to college. Mom has always earned more than dad. I never even considered going to college, as even high school was a major time waster. I am not saying I did not learn. I just could have learned with a lot less time actually spent in school. Other than my first year out of high school, I have always earned more than both of my parents combined. Throughout my career, the individuals I have hired that have degrees and are in their 20s have not found employment in the field they studied and have unbelieavable student debt. And most of them have been required to pay to take worthless classes that shove someone elses socio-political ideals down their throats, while neglecting to provide an education that will be of value in the workplace. Many do not have common sense and the skills necessarry to do the jobs available to them. So, I am doing what my parents did for me, I am raising my children to have a strong work ethic, trying to teach them how to think for themselves, be logical, analytical, and use common sense, and trying to give them at-home supplementary education that will allow them to support themselves as adults. Im not interested in having a 20 somthing child with a college degree living in my basement until student debt is paid, or until the right job becomes available. 
  
Just encourage your kids to make money. Simple as that. Don't tell them "follow your dreams" like student counselors have told kids for the last 20 years as they get worthless majors from degree windmills with no basis for real world use. 

I plan to have money for my kids on hand in a 529 for going to college should they desire (since they won't qualify for federal loans with our income level). If they don't desire to go thats fine - I don't have an issue with that as long as they have a planned tradeskill (HVAC, plumbing, etc.. etc..). 

Personally I'll never understand why so many people waste so much time in college. I did 2 years in a community college to get my credits, 2 years at the university and I was done. I do laugh though, plenty in my field are coming out with a masters and they still come in to the industry with the same knowledge base I had with a bachelors... not knowing jack shit because classes have nothing to do with applying to the real world.

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I went to college during another economic era. I started fulltime at a California State University, left, and later came back part time. Mainly taking evening courses while working fulltime during the day. Taking six semester units then was in the hundreds of dollars, not thousands of dollars as things are now. I eventually finished my degree. I ended up going into a different field than my degree, but I have no regrets in what I did.

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I'm glad your anecdotal evidence turned out so well for you.  If you look at generalized data on lifetime earning, many college degrees are still very profitable.  Kudos on your efforts to raise your kids with a great work ethic, learning to think, etc.  These are very very important skills.  

I think the OP started an interesting discussion.  (I'll add an additional anecdotal story now...) I did the five year plan for a four year degree and then got a masters.  My jobs over the years were all BS required only (no requirement for an MS).  I've had five jobs after college.  In the post-hiring debrief discussion, I found out that having the MS was the deciding factor in me getting hired for four of the five positions.   I can't imagine getting anywhere CLOSE to where I'm at without the BS... so if you compare:

  • Four years of college, no BS

to

  • Five years of college with BS

There likely would have been a really big difference in my lifetime earnings. I know that's not the OP's point, but is an important one if one finds themselves part way through a program and wondering what to do.  While the fifth year "cost" me a lot, it also brought a huge return on my investment in time and money.  
snnistle said:   I will not encourage my children to go to a 4 year college for a degree. My personal experience tells me it isnt needed for most people. 
  

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debentureboy said:   I'm glad your anecdotal evidence turned out so well for you.  If you look at generalized data on lifetime earning, many college degrees are still very profitable.  Kudos on your efforts to raise your kids with a great work ethic, learning to think, etc.  These are very very important skills.  

I think the OP started an interesting discussion.  (I'll add an additional anecdotal story now...) I did the five year plan for a four year degree and then got a masters.  My jobs over the years were all BS required only (no requirement for an MS).  I've had five jobs after college.  In the post-hiring debrief discussion, I found out that having the MS was the deciding factor in me getting hired for four of the five positions.   I can't imagine getting anywhere CLOSE to where I'm at without the BS... so if you compare:

  • Four years of college, no BS

to

  • Five years of college with BS

There likely would have been a really big difference in my lifetime earnings. I know that's not the OP's point, but is an important one if one finds themselves part way through a program and wondering what to do.  While the fifth year "cost" me a lot, it also brought a huge return on my investment in time and money.  
snnistle said:   I will not encourage my children to go to a 4 year college for a degree. My personal experience tells me it isnt needed for most people. 
  

  Good points.

There are employers that require a degree (BA or higher) in order to get into their management tracks.  I once worked for such an employer.  If someone happens to be with such an employer, and wishes to go up the ranks and they don't have a degree, they have several options:  Complete a degree while working, look for other employment, or try to convince their employer that they're an exceptional person and should still be considered even without this requirement.

Anyway, people have different situations and goals.  They'll need to decide for themselves.  Fortunately I was in a situation where college costs were reasonable.  Things have changed, but community colleges are a good place to start.  Fees should still be reasonable.  I have taken computer science courses at Santa Monica College just to improve my skills.  These courses were some of the most difficult I've ever taken, even compared to what I took while I was at a university.  Community colleges are not "high schools with ash trays."

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