Tuition and College Quality

For better or worse Americans associate high quality with high price. It’s true for colleges and universities. The higher the tuition the higher the implied quality. The fact is that most students do not pay the list tuition and there are many high quality schools with reasonable tuition.

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LearnProsper will soon come to you in an all new format. This valuable source of content on Careers and Colleges will have weekly posts of 50 words or less and the entire data base will be searchable. This will give you bite sized nuggets as well as searchable access to the large LearnProsper data base. “SEE” YOU SOON.

Good Paying Jobs That Do Not Require a Bachelor’s Degree

There are good paying jobs that don’t require a bachelor’s degree but they do require skills that are changing as our world changes. Learning is still key to a better future. But how do you decide what to learn?  The answer is that you should begin with “who you are” then decide what to study that can lead to a better future for yourself and your loved ones. Buzz TodaySource: O*NET  The O*NET program is the nation’s primary source of occupational information. Every occupation requires a different mix of knowledge, skills, and abilities, and is performed using a variety of activities and tasks. The data base defines the set of occupations across the world of work. Based on the Standard Occupational Classification the O*NET-SOC taxonomy currently includes 974 occupations 

With so many occupations to select from, it is no wonder that readers are challenged to find just the right combination of factors needed to fit exactly “who they are”.  In this post we explore the important characteristics of a few of the 974 choices to show how a new career can be chosen.  I recommend that you look at several important characteristics for any career you may be considering.  These are:

* The size of the profession. This gives you an indication of how many jobs in this profession there are in the US economy. Here size matters. Larger professions provide more opportunities.

* Growth in the profession is another important parameter for you to consider.  As our world changes opportunities in different careers are changing as well.  Some careers attractive just a few years ago have already been impacted by changes.  A good example is desktop publishing.  Only a few years ago this was a growing job opportunity.  Today this profession is much less attractive with a very limited growth prospect.

* Earnings are another important piece of information in your career choice. Incurring student debt to earn credentials in a poorly paying occupation is a path to a dismal future.

* How well the occupation fits you is another important factor. This is the part about “who you are”.  Here again you need good data about personality and the characteristics of those already in the profession.

Here is data on a few of the 974 careers.  All of these require less than a bachelor degree and are reasonably accessible through education at a community college at a reasonable investment level.

Patrol Police Officer

This is a profession that, with the right personal history, is relatively easy to enter.  42% of current officers entered the profession directly from high school but an associate’s degree provides better prospects.  It is a large profession with 664,000 current positions growing by 249,000 (2010-2020).  The median pay is $55,270 per year.  This profession requires personal attributes that include integrity, self control, stress tolerance and attention to detail.

Dental Hygienist

This is a reasonably large job classification with 182,000 current positions with over two thirds occupied by professionals with an associate’s degree making it a relatively easy profession to enter through a very affordable path at a local community college. Growth is projected to be over 29% (2010-2020) and compensation in 2012 was highly attractive with an annual median income of $70,210.  In addition to technical training required, personality attributes that align with the requirements of the job include a good-natured and cooperative attitude.


This is a large employment category with employment of 256,000 with good growth projected over the next decade.  The median salary in 2012 was $46,990 annually. Apprenticeships by state are available.  In addition, certificates are available from The Association of Legal Assistants/Paralegals.   Personal attributes including attention to detail, dependability, and integrity.

Registered Nurse
This is a huge profession with 2010 employment at 2,737,000 with projected openings by 2020 of 1,207,400 professionals. This size and growth are being driven by new medical technology and the aging of the baby boomers. Compensation is attractive at a 2012 median level of $65,470 annually. Personality attributes important in this profession include concern for others, dependability, stress tolerance, self control and attention to detail.

Summary:   All of these careers can be entered with learning that is less than the traditional bachelor’s degree.  This makes learning a key but manageable entry to these attractive professional careers.

50% to 65% Off List Price – SALE!

The headline today is one you would expect to see from an aggressive retailer promoting an out of season sale on pants and shirts. The surprising thing is that this headline is about tuition and fees at American Colleges and Universities. The information applies to Four Year Public Universities, Four Year Private Nonprofit Universities and Private For-Profit Universities.


Buzz Today Source: College Board Submission for the record: US House of Representatives – House Committee on Veteran’s Affairs

              2012 – 2013                 Tuition and Fees

Published      Net         Discount

$8,660       $ 2,910        66%     Public Four Year in State

$29,060    $13,380       54%     Private Nonprofit Four Year

$15,170     $ 4,950        67%     Private For-Profit  Four Year


In the BUZZ Today data we can see a number of things about the cost of attending an American college or University.  We can draw several important implications from the data.

First of all, which university you decide to attend has a very significant impact on the amount you will end up paying and in turn, the size of your student debt once you get your degree. Clearly attending a private or for-profit university represents several times the cost of an in state education. Just how much more it costs is not always obvious without the data. Details on published tuition and fees for every accredited college in America is available at COLLEGENavigator, a service of the US Department of Labor. How to interpret the extensive data available at that WEB site is available in Your Future is Calling.

The second important information in BUZZ Today is how much students are actually paying to get their education. There is a lot of attention paid to the increases in the published tuition and fees at universities. These are the numbers referenced when people say that college costs are increasing faster than the rate of inflation.

While these increases are real and not sustainable over the long run, they do reflect a challenge for learners like you and our nation. We cannot afford to have learning costs increasing at such a high rate.

But it is not the headline grabbing increases that I want to leave with you here. What is most important in this data is the SALE! stated in the headline of this post. Unlike the SALE sticker price on the tag attached to the pants and shirts in the retail store, the discount in education is not well publicized. Unless you ask, you will never know what the best price available for your education actually could be. This is extremely important when it comes to managing your student debt. But this information is even more important to your decision about which specific university to actually attend.

To manage this reality in your education decisions it is extremely important that you know the actual facts and every bit as important, what to do with those facts once you have them. For the to do list on how to mover forward, see the Your Future path in the pages of Your Future is Calling. In the end, it is indeed your future that you are determining.