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  • Writer's pictureMelanie Reinersman

College Costs

Updated: May 27, 2020

Is college right for everyone?  We often say “no.”  But do we mean it?  What are the alternatives, especially when the costs to attend are so high?  What do you think?  Could you actually tell a college student that s/he might want to try becoming a welder? ~ David M. Reile, Ph.D.

FOCUS ON: The Value of On-Campus Employment

Yes, students can get jobs on-campus, but do they see how these typically mundane tasks (e.g., copying, filing, emptying trash) relate to life after graduation? Most likely students take on-campus jobs for the income or convenience and may not recognize their wider value. Career counselors can offer a bit of wisdom to show how any job could lay the foundation for a profitable future. Students of all ages may need to be reminded of some of these career lessons (e.g. listen; be polite to everyone). Read more at

COLLEGES and UNIVERSITIES: The Public and Private School Sticker Price

The “sticker” price of college continues to rise, yet financial aid is not increasing. If the net price goes up — adding up tuition, fees, room and board, factoring in financial aid and adjusting for inflation – how long before the student debt becomes unreasonable, untenable, and unaffordable? Are career counselors ready to provide the statistics that won’t scare clients? See details in “College Net Price Is Rising“.

TOP TEN: Alternatives to a College Degree

Associate degrees, apprenticeships and other certificates may easily lead to so-called “middle jobs”, which require education and training beyond high school but don’t require a bachelor’s degree. When college debt is a concern, these alternatives – which may pay between $35,000 and $75,000 annually – start to look good. Help clients explore options such as alternative #4 (Sales Engineers) or #7 (Firefighting and Prevention Supervisors). Read more and see the Top Ten list at

PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS: AAUP Helps with the Financial Crisis

Not surprisingly, many universities are struggling with challenging financial situations, including implementing faculty hiring and salary freezes, furloughs, salary cuts, layoffs, non-renewals, and more. The AAUP, American Association of University Professors, offers resources, specifically an FAQ list for those working or planning to work in academia. Participation in a professional organization couldn’t be more important for those looking for chapter events and conferences offering valuable and creative ideas about how to work through financial crises that may affect current and future careers. See more at

CAREER SPOTLIGHT: Paying for a Trade School

Most electricians learn their trade in a 4-year apprenticeship. For each year of the program, apprentices must complete at least 144 hours of technical training. Similarly, HVACR technicians receive post-secondary instruction from technical and trade schools or community colleges that offer programs in heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration. These programs generally last 6 months to 2 years and lead to a certificate.  Clients who have already selected a career such as electrician or HVACR installer may still need help learning how to choose a trade school based on cost. The trade school contract should outline how much the program costs and the student should understand the details before signing the contract. Read more questions these career college students should ask at


“I don’t believe in colleges and universities. I believe in libraries because most students don’t have any money. When I graduated from high school, it was during the Depression and we had no money. I couldn’t go to college, so I went to the library three days a week for 10 years.” - Ray Bradbury
“Finance is the art of passing money from hand to hand until it finally disappears.” - Robert W. Sarnoff


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