Now that it’s the season of fireworks and cookouts, we often pay tribute to the distinct history of our country: its founders, Presidents, and milestones. It’s only natural, then, that we take note of some of our nation’s most historic colleges:
1. Harvard University. Founded in 1636, Harvard is the oldest institution of higher education in the country. Over its many years, some of the world’s most respected academics have graduated from this sprawling school located in Cambridge, MA, as well as eight U.S. Presidents, including John Adams, Theodore Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, and Barack Obama. Guess there’s a reason why the Crimson top the academic charts year after year.
2. University of Virginia. Established in 1819, the University of Virginia was founded by Thomas Jefferson, one of our country’s most accomplished leaders. What’s more, the university’s initial board of advisors included James Madison and James Monroe. In other words, UVA is driven by an impressive heart of history.
3. College of William & Mary. Though both Harvard and UVA boast impressive alumni pools, the College of William & Mary just may take the historical cake. Not only have three U.S. Presidents worn green, gold, and silver (the school colors), but so did celebrated Supreme Court Justice John Marshall, and count it: 16 signers of the Deceleration of Independence. That’s some serious legacy.
4. Washington and Lee University. Another university located in Virginia, this school is partially named after our nation’s first president. Can’t get much more impressive than that.
5. University of Pennsylvania. The remarkable figure who founded this mighty Keystone-state school is none other than the father of bifocals, the odometer, and electricity. You guessed it: Ben Franklin. In step with Franklin’s innovative attitude, Penn is home to the nation’s first schools of medicine and business, meaning we wouldn’t have gotten too far without it.
6. American University. In 1892, American University was chartered by an Act of Congress. Since then, it’s flourished in the nation’s capital, becoming a storied hotspot. More, the school has educated a host of federal judges, senators, representatives, ambassadors, diplomats, and even Nobel laureates. What does that mean, exactly? For one, AU boasts a social influence of historic proportions.
Face it: the price of college is swelling more than the summer surf. So here are five things you can buy that will actually cut your overall costs, ensuring that your next semester will be as affordable as it can be. If that’s not a bit of metaphorical sunshine, we don’t know what is.
1. A top-notch bed set. What could be more devastating than running excitedly into your dorm room on move-in day only to see an old, lumpy mattress resting on what looks like a decades-old bedspring? Purchasing a comfortable blanket and set of sheets—as well as a mattress pad—is crucial, as a quality bed set will last you the entirety of your college career, and could save you a trip to the chiropractor. But sleeping well will save you money in other ways, too. At the very least, you won’t have to buy so much coffee.
2. A coffee pot. No matter how well you sleep, you’ll still need your daily dose of caffeine. Instead of buying a cup of Joe over the counter, brew your own in the comfort of your dorm room and you could start off your day by cutting your coffee-related expenses in half. Keurigs tend to be popular, as they’re easy and safe to use.
3. A good pair of headphones. Looking for new music? Take advantage of the Web by using streaming sites such as Pandora, Spotify, Playlist, and 8tracks. Not only can you listen to hours of rock anthems, rap mix tapes, and indie tracks, but you’ll save big by staying out of stores.
4. Reusable goods/Bulk goods. Cut down on items you tend to buy over and over. Water bottles, for example. While bottled water is cheaper than a reusable bottle, repeated single purchases add up, putting a strain on your wallet. Overall, the old saying proves true: you want quality, not quantity. The same isn’t true for bulk items. Sometimes more is better and can actually save you money. An example: if something doesn’t expire and you use it frequently, buy the bulk size and save some cash. Things like toothpaste, laundry detergent, coffee, et cetera.
5. Used books. While books are essential, they’re one of the costlier purchases you’ll have to make, as they’re often not included in the price of tuition. So buy them used and you won’t regret having taken a little extra time to find a good deal. Then get some of your money back by selling them at the end of each semester.
A mantra to remember: don’t make unnecessary purchases. Buy what you need, but be smart about it. For instance, don’t worry about packing office supplies (e.g. staplers), as they’ll probably be available around campus, most likely in the library. And wait for things to go on sale. Retailers like Staples and Target always have back-to-school discounts, selling their notebooks, paper, and pens at a reduced rate. Plan ahead and take the opportunity to stock up.
Our friends over at ValoreBooks put together an in-depth look at the student loan crisis and what it could mean for you. Check it out. But don’t get too frantic or depressed. At SimpleTuition, we’re here to help you get out of debt years faster and for thousands less.
Is a graduate degree worth the time and expense? William Pannapacker, a professor of English at Hope College in Holland, Michigan, stated, “I would not recommend enrolling in any graduate program – if your primary goal is full-time employment – without some hard, externally verifiable evidence that the program is successful at placing its graduates in positions that the applicant would regard as acceptable.” Also, when it comes to the working world, there’s more to it than getting a degree; Lorrie Ross, a career and marketing consultant, said, “Professionals are not entitled to work because of a degree; they earn work based on their ability to work and think.”
According to some experts, some of the advanced degrees that are still worth the debt include Master of Public Health, MBA, Doctor of Pharmacy, and Master of Science in Predictive Analytics as well as advanced degrees in public health, biostatistics, epidemiology, and informatics.
Graduate Degrees and Salary Increase
According to the Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, the salary increase one can expect by getting a graduate degree varies extremely, from a miniscule 1 percent increase to a whopping 190 percent increase. According to their analysis, which is based on census data, some of the graduate degrees worth the expense are in health and medical programs, zoology, social sciences, public policy, biology, molecular biology, biochemical sciences, chemistry, and physiology.
Richard Vedder, a professor of economics at Ohio University and director of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, stated, “Colleges are turning out more graduates than the market can bear, and a master’s is essential for job seekers to stand out – that, or a diploma from an elite undergraduate college.”
If you’re thinking about going to graduate school immediately after obtaining a bachelor’s degree, Andrew Roberts, author of the book The Thinking Student’s Guide to College: 75 Tips for Getting a Better Education, believes it’s difficult for students to know if grad school is the best choice for them until they’ve gained some experience in the workforce.
Financing a Graduate Degree
The majority of graduate school awards are based on qualifications such as excellent exam scores, good grades, and fantastic letters of recommendation. Make yourself attractive to schools; the more faculty members at a specific school want you, the more money you’ll get. If a university is really interested in you for a doctoral program, there’s a good chance you’ll get paid to go for your Ph.D. You have a better chance of getting free money for a doctoral degree than a master’s degree.
Some states offer need-based financial aid to graduate students while others offer merit based financial aid. Many states have restrictions on graduate financial aid based on the types of educational programs and required research.
Some universities, independent organizations, and the federal government offer graduate fellowships. “Portable” graduate fellowships can be used for just about any graduate program at any college.
If you’re curious about salaries for employees with doctoral degrees, check out the salary information provided by the National Science Foundation.
A lot of people are going to graduate school due to the tough job market or because they’re passionate about their field, but it pays to select a graduate degree program rewarded by the job market. It’s vital to do your homework before enrolling in any graduate degree program.
Brian Jenkins writes about careers in accounting, among other career fields, for BrainTrack.com.
Here’s a numerical rundown or what really matters when you’re applying for college. Check it out and adjust your focus accordingly.