This piece from the Wall Street Journal is one of the first I've seen from a mainstream media outlet that really digs deep into the cost/benefit considerations associated with going to college. Just a decade or so ago most media outlets bristled at the notion that money/economics/payback should play much of a role in selecting a college. Now here's a whole conversation on the next level of education-related financial issues: should someone's MAJOR and the earning power of that major be considered as a student selects a college and field of study?
I think you all know my thoughts on this issue, but if not, here are some pieces to remind you:
- College Freakonomics
- College and Cost
- How to Make the Most of a College Degree
- Four Keys to Making the Most of College
- A Game Plan for Making the Most of College
This issue is one I'm very close to dealing with myself. My kids are within a few years of selecting a college and a field of study. As you might imagine, we are having many discussions about what they think they want to study, where they might want to go to school, and so forth.
My daughter will likely enroll in a community college this fall as a junior in high school to begin her college career (we homeschool, so we have the flexibility). My son is already taking classes at a local high school supplementary school that could earn him college credit. Both of them want to get as many credits as they can while they are in high school -- so they can begin college well down the road. We've given them a financial incentive to do so, telling them they can keep the difference between what we have saved for their college education and what they spend.
That said, they are just taking the basic classes, so the decision of what they want to study as well as where they will eventually go to get their degrees is something we need to decide. They won't have as much worry as others about paying for college since we've saved for it, but they certainly want to get the best degree they can without it costing them much.
I'll keep you informed as we make progress down this path.