College education is an investment and, just like in case with any other investment, one expects it to pay off; therefore, when choosing a college for yourself or your children it is very important to think beforehand and take into account everything that may influence the ROI you get when all is said and done.
So, private or public? Which is the better investment? Is college really worth it at all?
For most people the most important component of this decision will probably be the price tag of their future college. And here public institutions certainly fare better – due to being partially subsidized by the state they can offer better prices: on average, education at a public college costs about $20,000 against about $30,000 at a private one.
But should the price be your only concern?
Although there are public colleges that offer comparable quality of education to that of private institutions, it would be wrong to say that the only difference between them is a price tag. At private colleges you can expect smaller classes, better tutors, more attention paid to individual students and better facilities – to say nothing of prestige inseparable from being educated at one of the well-known universities.
Moreover, although a college degree doesn’t automatically guarantee you a job, graduates from private institutions earn about 20% more on average and have better chances of landing a job – which means that even if you take a student loan you will be better off in the long run.
However, with the price of tuition being on the rise, you should plan beforehand and be ready to deal with a larger student loan debt than you expected.
Another thing you certainly should consider before applying is the people you are going to meet during your college years. Unsurprisingly, private colleges, especially the better-known ones, attract students from wealthier families and from more diversified backgrounds: from other states and other countries. Thus, you will be able to mingle and get acquainted with people that may turn out to be either useful to know later in life, or simply more interesting than those you meet at public colleges.
Thus, a private college seems to be the way to go – at least if you are ambitious, hardworking and expect to get a high-paying job out of this deal. However, you should consider one more thing – according to the latest surveys, only about a half of all college graduates work jobs that require college degrees, and probably even more work jobs that don’t directly correspond with the degrees they have. Thus, after spending four years at college you have a chance to end up with a $30,000 student loan for the education you won’t even use!
And although unemployment rates among college graduates are about half as great as among those who only graduated from high schools, it certainly provides some food for thought. Thus, a college, and a private college in particular, is a viable choice only in case you know very well what you are going to do with your life.