Tuesday, November 1, 2011

College Planning and the Financial Planning Professional

It has become cliche that the United States has transformed from a manufacturing to a knowledge-based economy, and that the jobs of the future will require advanced education and critical thinking skills. The assumption is that this will continue to place a premium on, at the minimum, college-level education and ideally, a college degree with on-going professional education, whether in the form of an advanced university-based certification or degree e.g. MBA) or a professional designation (e.g. CLU).

If price is an indicator of demand, then it would appear that the value -- indeed, the necessity -- of a college education is recognized in American society. Mary Mederios Kent, senior demographic writer at the Population Reference Bureau, notes in a recent article that the cost of two-year college in the 2009-2010 academic year ranged from less than $8,000 (for a public college with the student living at home) to an average of $20,000 per year for a two-year for-profit colleges. A degree from a four-year private university averaged $24,000 per year for students living at home, and $34,000 for those living on campus. Advanced degrees cost even more (or rather, "require a larger investment.")