Let’s talk about something that no one wants to talk about with strangers: money. We’re going to just jump right into it: college finances suck. Students find that one of the most stressful aspects of college is not actually going to class, but paying for it. Nearly 70 percent of graduates from 4-year colleges are in debt with student loans. Meanwhile, the Huffington Post recently reported that the national student loan debt has reached $1 trillion dollars. This is now a problem that is too big to ignore.Cartoon of Students at Graduation

Politics and money go hand in hand, but for the sake of argument, let’s stay out of the politics as much as possible here. Let’s not complain about how awful things are, but rather, let’s focus on solutions.

In order to prepare for this lengthy discussion, you must have a factual account of the dire situation. I find that infographics are the easiest to comprehend and to contextualize. Education Schools Online and Daily Infographic have two of my favorite infographics.

With the financial security of a student’s future being unstable, a student is left with a choice: either go to college and hope for a high paying job after college or get whatever job is available right now even if it means sacrificing dreams. This is not the ultimatium that we should be giving our students.

Next week we’re going to go over one specific issue with college finance each day. In no particular order, we will discuss loans, grants, money making opportunities, post-college job market, rising tuition, and the value of different educational paths. Different scenarios will be covered for each issue, and hopefully we can all have an open and honest (and polite) discussion on how to make the best of the current situation. Does anyone want to offer up a topic that I missed?

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