The following was originally posted by Forbes.
At a time when a college degree is a prerequisite for even entry-level jobs, the cost of college is putting higher education’s promise of economic mobility beyond reach for a growing number of students. And yet, there’s precious little talk about what might be the biggest access barrier of all: opportunity cost.
The numbers are staggering. Tuition for in-state, four-year colleges hovers around $9,410 per year. But even minimum wage earners sacrifice over $15,000 in wages by stepping out of the workforce for one year of college. That means that the actual cost to an individual in tuition plus lost wages is closer to $24,000—more than double the college sticker price.
Sadly, the burden of navigating work and college at the same time is an insurmountable barrier for most students. Somewhere between 70% to 80% of college students work, but students who have to balance work and school are almost twice as likely to drop out. As it turns out, colleges and employers have unwittingly conspired to force would-be graduates to choose between a job and earning a degree.
Fortunately, a handful of innovative colleges are teaming up with employers like Starbucks and Chipotle to support working students, lowering college cost, accelerating time to completion, and reducing the opportunity cost of going back to school.
This piece was excerpted from “College-Business Partnerships Can Solve The Higher Education Affordability Crisis” by Rachel Carlson in Forbes. Rachel Carlson is the cofounder-CEO of Guild Education, a Denver, CO-based startup that provides online classes, programs and accredited degrees for working adults. Click here to read more.
Join the upskilling movement
UpSkill America is an employer-led movement to expand opportunity for America’s workers and allow our economy and communities to thrive. To learn more, follow us on social media and join our mailing list to receive new resources and announcements.