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My parents have never been made of money, but when I was young they set out to do something great for our family and for themselves. They both attended ASU, my father graduating with an engineering degree and my mother graduating with a degree in history. While, yes, this choice was a great accomplishment for them, it set a standard of college graduates (and ASU attendees) for their children, but financially speaking, is it always the best choice?

I have attended ASU for three years, and already, I have accumulated $21,700 in debt. That does not include the things such as textbooks and online access codes and various other expenses that have come out of my own pocket. It also doesn't include that between scholarships and grants, I have received $20,000 for my schooling. There are some people who have it even worse than this. The worst part is that college is no longer a guarantee for a great job when you graduate. My mom is still working at a job that requires no degree, and she makes approximately $15,000 a year. My sister recently graduated from ASU, and she is still working at IHOP!

Now let's talk about opportunity cost. While going to school, a student gives up about four years where they could be working a full-time job. If I took my job, which I work part time at $14.50 an hour, and went full time I could be making about $15,000 more per year. If you multiply that by four years, that is $60,000 of opportunity cost. Meanwhile, I have friends who dropped out and are working, and people shame them every day for not going to school. There are so many problems that come with the journey that is higher education. While many reap so many benefits, many are faced with high cost of education, pressure to go to school, and the opportunity cost of schooling. We need to make it more affordable, easier to get scholarships or even stop putting pressure on students to go to college.

Kory Cannady

Undergraduate, W.P. Carey School of Business

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