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.

It’s Not Always What It Seems

We have talked a lot about the need to chose degrees and careers that create value for you.  My book “Your Future is Calling” guides you through the 950+ careers listed on the Department of Labor WEB site.  Buzz Today Source:  The New York Times. In 2007, the Veterinary Medical Association contended that the United States needed more veterinarians.  In 2012, a National Academy of Sciences found no evidence of vet shortages.  It also concluded that the “cost of veterinary education is at a crisis point”.  .

I always believed that veterinarians were in demand and earned a good income. Upon reflection, that belief was probably because it takes a lot of education to become a vet and in the end they are sort of like a human medical doctor.

I was shocked to read of a 30 year old veterinarian graduate who recently graduated with $312,000 of student debt.  The problem is that the average starting salary for veterinary graduates is $45,575 per year.  This ratio of debt far exceeds the debt to starting salary ratio of 3 to 1 recommended.

The prospect is that the young woman grad will be repaying her student loans for about 25 years for a total of over $650,000 with taxes.  One of the reasons this grad’s bill is so high is because she failed to be accepted to the reasonably priced University of California – Davis Vet school and instead went to a high tuition cost off shore for-profit school.

But as bad as the young graduate’s situation is, it is not as bad as a student who went to a for-profit vet school, lasted 6 semesters than failed out racking up $160,000 of debt and no degree.  High debt and no degree is about as bad a situation you can wind up in.

This post is the first in a series that looks at how critical it is to make sure that you fully understand your career prospects that fit “who you are”.  It also introduces the subject of how important it is fully understand everything about the college you are considering attending.

By the way, the 30 year old veterinarian went into the career because it is something she wanted to do since childhood.  The intrinsic value of what she is doing (to do) is a powerful motivator for her.  Her decision fits “who she is” very well.  Now she has to manage the economics of her decision.

One final note on this post:  O*Net lists the average veterinarian salary as $82,900, clearly including many veterinarians with many years of experience.