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Cedar Education offers 5 Facts to Consider in Your College and Career Planning

 Facts to Consider in Your College and Career Planning

While the summer has just begun for many graduating high school seniors, Cedar Education Lending urges these students to use the time to carefully consider their choice of college. They should think about what their majors will be and also shop around for private student loans to help bridge the gap between the cost of attendance and federal loans and grants received.

With the cost of college tuition far outpacing the increase in inflation and average starting salaries over the past 10 years, students are faced with a daunting outlook. It used to be that college freshman could take their time and figure out what they wanted to do with their lives,” commented Harvey Berkey, COO of Cedar Education Lending. But now the decisions freshmen make could greatly impact their future,” he added. Cedar Ed points enumerates several important things for young adults to keep in mind when planning both their college & career paths.

1)Only 49 percent of 2009-11 undergraduates found full-time jobs in their fields of study within a year of graduation.
2)The Class of 2012 faces increased competition from unemployed and under-employed 2008-11 graduates and laid-off workers with more experience.
3)The average student loan debt is about $25,000
4)Tuition, room and board at many private colleges is over $50,000 per year and rising.
5)Starting salaries are lower than 10 years ago (adjusted for inflation).

Students and parents should ask themselves some tough questions: What is the likely return on their college investment? What will be the jobs that are in demand 5 to 10 years from now? What jobs will soon be obsolete?

According to a recent study by Georgetown University, college graduates made 84 percent more over their lifetime than those with only high school diplomas. But upon a further analysis of 171 majors, it shows that various undergraduate majors can lead to significantly different median wages.
Petroleum engineering majors make about $120,000 a year, compared with $29,000 annually for counseling psychology majors, according to the study. Math and computer science majors earn $98,000 in salary while early childhood education majors get paid about $36,000.

Students must consider what kind of debt they should assume to fund their studies. Does taking on over $100,000 in student loan debt to fund a psychology major make sense? Maybe the student is better off finding a college that is more affordable.
Students should also remember that when they graduate, they should consolidate their federal student loans and refinance their high interest rate private student loans with a private loan consolidation.

Colleges are listening?

A growing number of colleges are taking smart measures to attract more students by cutting tuition or speeding up the rate at which they graduate.

While some private colleges are introducing double-digit percentage cuts in tuition or freezing prices altogether, other schools are offering three-year degree programs or four-year graduation guarantees.

In part, these schools are responding to consumers’ concerns about the rising cost of college.However, one has to be careful that all is not what it appears. Tuition cuts and freezes are usually accompanied by reduction in financial aid.The University of Charleston, for example, may be slashing tuition but it’s also reducing the amount of financial assistance that’s available to students to $10 million from $15 million. Instead of making cuts, other schools are freezing tuition at current levels or giving students four-year tuition guarantees. This still means students need to take out student loans and they need to continue to be smart about shopping around for private student loans.

While making school more affordable for students has become more common, it’s still far from a widespread trend. Many more schools continue to hike tuition, he said. Overall, tuition at private colleges has been increasing more than 4% each year for the past three years, according to the National

At least 14 additional colleges have frozen tuition for the upcoming school year — the highest number of tuition freezes on record.

A degree in four years or less: With average tuition at four-year private colleges costing $28,500 a year, according to the College Board, failing to graduate on time is a costly proposition. As a result, some colleges are reducing the time it takes to graduate or guaranteeing that students will get their degree in four years.

Beginning next year, Ashland University in Ohio is granting bachelor’s degrees that can be completed in three years instead of four — saving students an estimated $34,000 in tuition costs and giving them a year’s head start in the work force.

Ohio’s Baldwin-Wallace College is introducing a “Four-Year Graduation Guarantee” program this fall. Under the program, the school guarantees that students who meet certain requirements, like maintaining a GPA of 2.0 or higher, will graduate in four years. If not, the college will pay for the extra time.

Some colleges are taking it a step further by offering joint-degree programs that allow students to graduate with both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in four years. Simmons College in Boston is offering joint-degrees in areas including social work and public policy, while Wilson College in Pennsylvania is launching a program that lets students graduate with both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in humanities.

Meanwhile, Lipscomb University in Tennessee is reducing the number of credits students need to take to graduate on time from 132 hours to 126 hours for the 2012 school year — the equivalent of about two classes.

Most Expensive Dorm Rooms

The Top 20 Room & Board Expenses 2011-2012

College Room/Board
1. The New School $18,080
2. New York University $15,181
3. Fordham University – Lincoln Center $15,000
4. Fordham University – Rose Hill $14,925
5. St. John’s University (Queens) $14,700
6. Suffolk University $14,624
7. Manhattanville College $14,520
8. Pace University $14,230
9. University of California – Berkeley $14,046
10. Marymount Manhattan College $14,030
11. Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering $14,000
12. Sarah Lawrence College $13,958
13. Dominican University of California $13,900
14. University of California – Santa Cruz $13,869
15. Harvey Mudd College $13,858
16. Cooper Union for Advancement of Science $13,700
17. University of California – Santa Barbara $13,694
18. American University $13,684
19. Claremont McKenna College $13,625
20. Vanderbilt University $13,560