No. of Recommendations: 6
A lot of good schools offering valuable degrees have priced themselves out of the market.

That's for sure.

I was really lucky. My coal miner father and stay-at-home mother offered me $85 per month support when I went to college. That was pretty generous of them considering neither of them got a chance to go. I won a $1000 per semester scholarship and worked 20 hours per week during the semester - at the campus book store and washing dishes. In Summers and during breaks, I worked full-time in the coal mines. All together, that got me through my undergraduate degree at one of the best engineering schools in the country without debt.

Once I got the initial opportunity, I feel like I made a lot out of it. Schools competed for me to attend their graduate school and my career was successful enough. My contributions to my field are still cited and the basis of some significant modern research. More importantly to me, my career allowed me to retire comfortably at age 49 without having to work any longer in the coal mines.

When I look at the cost of college education now, I'm forced to conclude that I would end up a coal miner if I were starting today. All of the funding sources I used combined wouldn't buy two weeks tuition into a good school. I doubt I would find it worth the massive debt to attend if I were starting today with the equivalent resources. I just would have been way too afraid to take on that massive debt risk to try something that no one in my family or anyone I knew had ever done before.
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When Life Gives You Lemons
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