Consumer expert Clark Howard’s column appears here each Thursday in conjunction with Deal Spotter, a weekly print section in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The state of Texas has come up with a solution to the high cost of college that I’m hoping will be a model for other states to follow.
Gov. Rick Perry remains on target with a promise he made in his State of the State address: To allow the state’s university system to deliver a standard four-year degree for a total cost of $10,000.
The Texas Tribune reports that the first degree available for $10,000 is in information technology. Four-year degrees in business administration and organizational leadership are next on tap.
Among the 10 participating Texas colleges are Angelo State University, University of Texas at Arlington and Texas A&M University-Commerce.
Florida has a different way to get to the same goal. It’s converted almost all of the two-year community colleges to offer four-year bachelor degree programs. In the process, many of these schools have changed their status from community colleges to state schools.
The question I pose to any head of any state university system is, do you know what’s going on with the families that are coming to your school? We are in a time when there is no money to pay for a Rolls Royce degree.
We are looking down the barrel of a calamity with student loan debt levels as a society and on the individual level with all the horror stories I’m hearing.
For parents, don’t borrow yourself into oblivion to pay for college. Your child can go to a local community college for the first two years and then finish up at a four-year school. And if you as a student are responsible for the bill, don’t over-borrow for four years of college. Your entire school debt for four years shouldn’t exceed your likely first year earnings in your desired field of study.
– Clark Howard — Save More, Spend Less, Avoid Rip-offs — for the Atlanta Bargain Hunter blog