While I can only speak on behalf of the cost effectiveness of education within my country of residence, Canada, I do believe that in comparison to university education and in relation to cost effectiveness of living in general, college education is still cost effective.
I recently graduated from a reputable community college earning a two-year print journalism diploma. I received employment, in a communications position prior to my graduation, earning several dollars over minimum wage. My education cost me approximately $3500 per school year totally about $7000 for my education. To put this into perspective with my current income, it works out to just over 11 weeks of full-time employment at my current position.
Considering there are 52 weeks in a year, nearly five times the 11 weeks of my income needed to cover the cost of my tuition, I’d say it was worth the investment.
With that being said, I don’t think anyone has $7000 sitting in their back pocket and the Canadian government recognizes this. Students have several options for financial assistance. In Ontario, students can apply for the Ontario Student Assistance Plan, which now allows them to also apply for 30 per cent off tuition. Students are also given work-study opportunities to gain valuable work experience while attending school, or they can apply for scholarships and bursaries.
Many students, like myself, also pursue part-time employment during the school year and full-time employment during the summer. I was fortunate, returning to post-secondary education as a mature student at 20 rather than 18 to have taken time off to acquire the funds to pay for my education.
Post-secondary education is not free, nor do I think it should be. I paid tuition to learn skills required to communicate effectively, was trained by professors with industry experience, and received employment immediately after graduation. Can one truly put a price on earning relevant employment that quickly after education?
College education is not as simple as buying groceries or investing in a new wardrobe, it’s cost effectiveness should also take into account the long-term impact it will have on your earning potential. With a college education you open the doors to positions allowing higher than minimum wage earnings in an area of interest.
$7000 seems like a large amount of money to spend, especially in a two-year period, but I could’ve spent thousands more dollars (totally more than that per year) to attend university and gain a degree with no real-word experience, which I did acquire throughout my community college journalism studies, or I could’ve gone on hoping for a job that would pay my bills without earning an education.
Taking a look at both the cost and outcome of my post-secondary education, I’d say it’s not only cost effective but a worthy investment.