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College Degree Programs: A Cost-Benefit Ratio Analysis

According to the latest Jobs Forecast news, published at http://www.youthtoday.org/publication/article.cfm?article_id=4091 , nearly two-thirds of American job positions will require some college education or post-secondary training. Furthermore, these jobs will typically pay significantly more than jobs that don’t require post-secondary education.  Fewer jobs will also be available to high school graduates and high school dropouts, according to author Jamaal Abdul-Alim.

Today, many students still see themselves entering four-year college degree programs and graduating within four to six years. In reality, however, less than two-thirds of the students who begin a four-year degree program will graduate within six years. Many students leave college saddled with high student loan debts and living expenses, and without the degree or skills necessary to land a good job.

The number of students enrolling in associate degree programs and distance learning programs is on the rise, however. Last year, nearly ten percent of high school graduates opted for two-year degrees, and more than four million students were enrolled in distance learning programs. Many graduates with limited financial resources, and especially those who have families to support, find these degree programs especially attractive.

Distance learning programs, for example, allow students to attend classes online during evenings and weekends. Students with families can meet course requirements on a more flexible schedule, and even maintain full-time jobs while going to college. While online degree programs are often slightly more expensive than traditional college degree programs, the flexibility and ability to earn a wage while furthering an education is often enormously beneficial to students with families to support.

Today, the US ranks 10th in the list of industrialized nations whose citizens hold college degrees. Technical degrees and two-year degree programs, which are widely accepted in many other countries, including those in Europe, represent an optimal way for the US to reverse this decline and regain its prominence with regard to education. These degree programs also offer students an excellent way to start earning a living while minimizing college debt.

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