College has never been more expensive. The current average federal student loan debt in the United States is $37,113, according to the Education Data Initiative. The average student loan debt-to-income ratio for a new graduate is 54.6%.
“Before adjusting for inflation, the average student loan debt at graduation has increased 2,807% since 1970, after adjusting for inflation, the average debt increased 317%,”
Students must deal with a long-term issue of student loan debt and the difficulties of affording college even before obtaining loans. Private institutions have the highest tuition rates in the country. The University of Southern California has one of the highest costs of attendance at a total of $85,600 if you live on campus. Tuition is $63,400 for the 2022-2023 school year.
Education Costs Rising Each Year
Universities adjust their tuition every year because of inflation, so the cost will continue to increase each year, which may make your university unaffordable after the first couple of years.
Public institutions aren’t the cheapest either. An in-state student can go to the University of Minnesota for $33,800 per year if you live on campus. An out-of-state student would have to pay a total of $54,500. Unless you obtain financial aid, college is extremely expensive.
According to the U.S. Census, “the median household income was $67,521 in 2020, a decrease of 2.9 percent from the 2019 median of $69,560.” Regardless of being an in-state or out-of-state student, if you are attending a public university, half or more of your income could go to paying for your child’s college.
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Student loan debt is a huge problem, but there are ways to be smart about getting into college debt. As we head into a school year ripe with inflation records, fears of recession, high covid-19 cases, it’s valuable to understand how you can avoid college debt or be proactive in paying off your loans.
Companies understand the value of a degree and also how difficult it can be to afford one, so one of the ways a student can pay for college is by finding a job that will have tuition reimbursement or tuition assistance. Companies also understand that tuition or financial support may incentivize you to stay at their company longer or work for them after you obtain your degree. One catch: there is no cap to the amount of an educational benefit. However, the IRS requires one to pay taxes on the amount of financial support if it is over $5,250. Because of this, many companies use this amount as the maximum amount of tuition assistance.
5 Jobs That Will Help Pay for Your Degree
1. Yum! Brands (YUM) – Get Yum! Brands Inc. Report Taco Bell : In 2016, Taco Bell launched “Start with Us, Stay with Us”, an initiative to help students afford their education. They have a Live Más Scholarship, a GED certification program, or you can obtain a degree through a network of universities with Guild Education which helps employees with understanding financial literacy.
2. Starbucks (SBUX) – Get Starbucks Corporation Report: Every eligible U.S. employee working full or part-time can receive 100% tuition coverage for a first-time bachelor’s degree through Arizona State University’s online program. There are over 100 undergraduate degree programs. Tuition and fees are fully covered but it does not cover additional educational expenses like textbooks and laptops.
3. Target (TGT) – Get Target Corporation Report: Target launched a debt-free education assistance benefit program for full and part-time members at Target locations. The company also works with Guild Education and will fund advanced degrees to help pay up to $10,000 annually for master’s programs. Team members will have access to select undergraduate degrees that are business aligned, such as business management, data analytics, and design.
4. Chipotle (CMG) – Get Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. Report: Chipotle has also partnered with Guild Education in 2016 to give Chipotle employees the opportunity to earn college credits and obtain undergraduate and graduate degrees. The tuition reimbursement program offers up to $5,250 per year and an additional $5,815 in federal grants for those eligible.
5. Walmart (WMT) – Get Walmart Inc. Report: In July 2021, the corporation announced it will pay 100% of college tuition and books for employees through its Live Better U (LBU) education program. LBU offers 50 programs focused on technology, health, and skilled trade. Employees are eligible for this program on the first day of employment. The program works with 10 universities across the country.