First, you should look at the college data for each school your student is interested in attending. I recommend the ETC College Rankings Index. This data gives you information on the percentage of graduates employed in their field after graduation, the average salary of recent grads, and the college’s loan default rates, graduation rates, and more. Two more reliable sources for college statistics are College Navigator and College Data. Next, look at PayScale’s College Salary Report for associate and bachelor’s degrees. This will help you and your student compare salaries for careers in their field(s) of interest to the potential cost of their education. Doing this research will help your student find a college with a good return on investment. It’s also important to tell your student they should never borrow more than they can afford to repay. It’s a good rule of thumb to never borrow more than their anticipated first year’s salary, which is why it’s so important to research costs and think about potential careers before taking out loans.
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