Tonawanda News

Columns

August 22, 2013

KEPPELER: Thinking of the class of 2026

(Continued)

Tonawanda News — Sam, my proud, soon-to-be kindergartner, will presumably be a member of the Class of 2026. In 13 years, what will we be looking at? 

Well, the College Calc website (collegecalc.org) estimates the annual cost of college in 2026 to be $45,473.19. The total four-year cost? About $181,900.

I know it’s not just tuition, it’s fees and room and board and all the other details. But I don’t even want to look at those numbers right now. 

The site also recommends what we should save a month for that goal. 

I’ll just say it’s not really feasible.

And that’s undergrad. Not master’s, not med school. Sam, my boy, we’d better start working on those scholarships.

The cost of an education keeps rising. The importance of an education keeps rising, too. But the amount of money many U.S. families have to spend ... or save ... isn’t pacing it. In fact, in many cases, it’s sinking ... or plummeting.

And without an education of whatever stripe, certificate to doctorate, the next generation isn’t going to do any better, either. 

I don’t know the answer, although I’m curious what Obama will propose. It’s not an easy question. Costs go up for colleges, too, and they get passed on. Any college worth its name needs to keep up with its technology, or its students won’t be able to, either. And all that costs money.

I’m a big proponent of community colleges, both as a direct route to education (see ECC’s Industrial Technology Program) and as a stepping stone to four-year schools. As an alumna of both Jamestown Community College (Olean) and St. Bonaventure University, I know what a good option they can be. I think we disregard vocational education far too much these days. (I’m a homeowner; I know what we pay the plumber or electrician these days. And it’s a better living than reporting.)

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