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  • Pursuing a College Degree in a Recession: Is it Worth it?

     

    Wondering if now is a good time to get a college degree? Even considering investing into an education can have an intimidating effect on your financial situation. With grants and scholarships, prospective students can still be burdened by student debt and loans. Being in a recession multiplies these burdens and worries, leaving you with one question: is it all worth it?

    Economic downturns and recessions change the status quo for employers and employees. As companies spend less and hire less, growth remains flat. If companies can’t adapt and provide a lasting service or product when consumers are spending less, the company will begin to fail. When companies fail, employees are laid off, unemployment rates increase, and suddenly the job pool is filled with skilled and unskilled prospective workers alike, all looking for a position. This is great for companies that are growing and hiring, as they have a prime selection of employees that are altogether skilled, educated, and eager to work. However, the job hunters, especially those less educated and degreed, will have a hard time filling roles that others are more suitable to fill. With only so many jobs available on the tree of employment, those that are standing on a ladder of education will reach the top picks. Those low-hanging jobs that may have been available in better times are fewer in a recession, and also picked by the more educated if times get hard. Jobs that require just a high-school degree are disappearing, but those requiring post-secondary education are increasing. A Georgetown study predicted that by 2018, 22 million new jobs would be created that require college degrees, but at least 3 million fewer people would earn college diplomas or bachelor degrees. All in all, degree holders will have many more opportunities than those who drop out. The under-skilled and under-educated are left empty handed, so what can they do?

    The good news is, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, the higher your education, the more earning potential you have and also the lower unemployment you will face.

    However, there are plenty of stories every day of young students rushing into an expensive college without a financial plan or budget, taking out huge amounts of debt and student loans, then being unable to find a job after graduating. With interest and large monthly payments looming over them, things can get scary fast. We can see that a higher education is worth it for both income and employment opportunities. This is true regardless of a recession, and recessions can provide the perfect chances to make a positive change in your education and future. Maybe you’re working a part-time job or no job at all. You have the time to further your skills and education. Scholarships exist everywhere and aren’t just based on financial need. There are plenty that are merit-based and awarded for academic success and aptitude. Spend time searching and applying for all you can, even ones you don’t think you qualify for, you’d be surprised. It takes a lot of time and work, but the money you save is more than worth it. You can also find paid internships and coops during school to help earn, and do your job-hunting, research, and networking before you graduate so the transition from college to workplace will be smooth. Use your time wisely, focus on your studies, and do the best you can. When the economy bounces back and companies are hiring up, you’ll stand out with your new degree.

    For those unable to acquire the solid financial backing required to attend college nearly debt-free, there are other options you may not have considered. Massive online course providers such as iStudySmart.com offer dozens of classes that can be taken online while students lounge at home in pajamas, at a fraction of university costs. According to an mnn.com article, “some believe these classes will replace many of the requirements in traditional two-year and four-year colleges. In the Pew study, roughly 60 percent believed that online coursework would change higher education by 2020. "There was a strong sense that, at a minimum, blended coursework — some combination of offline and online coursework — was going to be the reality for many students," said Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project, which conducted the survey.”

    Classes taken online with iStudySmart.com can be used to pass college-equivalency exams and earn hundreds of hours of course credit before you even set foot on a campus or classroom.  You read that right. You can earn your Associate’s and Bachelor’s Degrees off-campus. This credit can be transferred to over 3,800 colleges and universities when you’re ready. Visit istudysmart.com to learn more about testing out and to see what classes you have to choose from.

     

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