Sunday, March 15, 2009
Is college still worth the price?
Posted by Nicholas Hall
In May, more than 20,000 spectators gathered under blue skies at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn. to hear Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama deliver the commencement address.
After recalling his days as a low-paid community organizer, Obama urged the graduates to consider careers in public service. "I ask you to seek these opportunities when you leave here," Obama declared. "The future of this country - your future - depends on it." His message was received with enthusiastic applause.
Calls to "give back" always seem to resonate at elite schools like Wesleyan, a picture postcard of academic abundance on its 360-acre wooded campus, complete with state-of-the-art film center, 7,500-square-foot fitness facility, skating rink, 11-building arts complex and a new $47 million student center offering everything from Mongolian grill entrées to organically grown coffee.
As for actually entering a career in public service, Graduate, good luck with that. Given the steep price tag for a Wesleyan degree ($200,000 for four years) and the substantial amount you may have borrowed to pay those bills ($21,500 for the average student, with some families carrying loans of $50,000 or more), choosing a profession that often pays less than $30,000 a year might be, well, let's just say a bit of a financial challenge.
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