In recent weeks I’ve heard a lot of discussion on television, radio and social media about whether it’s worth the cost and time to attend college. What’s at the heart of these discussions and why are they becoming more prevalent? The answer is money.
As with so much in life these days, cost often becomes the factor that influences a trend. Raise the price of gas, people drive less. Raise the price of cigarettes, people smoke less. Raise the price of a college education, and more people will reconsider going to college. Alternative paths to an education and career are now rising to the top of viable education options. The price of a college education is climbing dramatically and that is putting it out of the reach of a significant number of people.
The University of California system recently raised the cost of student fees by 32%. 32%! That’s an incredible jump in cost and no one seems to think such increases are going to slow down anytime soon. The University of California is not a unique situation. Soaring costs are happening in higher educational institutions across the United States.
What this means is that alternative ways of obtaining an education are going to rise in popularity. I think this is a good thing. For too long the Holy Grail of education has been the traditional college education to the exclusion of any other seriously considered options. I think the current atmosphere of escalating college costs combined with the exponential increase in the pace of new knowledge and skills needed to remain competitive in the modern workplace is creating a perfect storm for change.
Without a doubt, a college education is the right choice for many. But when that is not a viable option for someone, or when someone’s life or professional goals don’t necessitate a college eduction, self-education can prove quite valuable.