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How much are you willing to pay for your future?
In the US, 20 million Americans attend college and 12 million of them—60% of the total—borrow on a yearly basis to do so. In the UK, 79% of college students take out tuition fee loans. Today, US college debt is somewhere between $902 billion and $1 trillion. By the end of the recent academic year in the UK, English and European students studying in the country owed 46.6 billion pounds sterling in publicly owned debt.
Students are taught that they need college diplomas to secure decent work, and to obtain that diploma, they need to delve into a mire of debt. Fortunately, virtual schooling is disrupting the paradigm by offering a way out of the mess.
Coursera, Udacity, EdX – these are just three of many sources of online courses and virtual schooling today. EdX isn’t just your run of the mill online school either. It’s a joint effort between Harvard and MIT to bring the very courses they offer their students into a massive open online course (MOOC) environment. They offer their courses to the world free of charge—and this is where the positive disruption starts.
Fundamentally, this means virtual schooling is a much more affordable option than a typical four-year bachelor course. The option instantly offers several financial advantages:
It’s plain to see how virtual schooling is much more affordable.
College loans get students through university, but only to work to pay off the accumulated debt. In the UK, it takes 25 years for a loan to be written off—during that quarter of a century, the student pays it back bit by bit. While the concept is essentially favourable to students, the numbers prove otherwise: too many students borrow to get through college only to become unemployed or underemployed, and therefore, are in no position to actually repay the loans.
This is where virtual schooling disrupts the cycle of college debt.
If online courses instil sufficient skill sets into students to garner qualification for work, and students don’t need to borrow a life’s worth of loans, then it’s the practical choice. In fact, virtual schooling disrupts not just the cycle of debt, but the entire contemporary notion that in order to get a job, you first need to get a college degree.
A combination of business process outsourcing trends, slow global economy recovery, and negative professional outlook for entry-level jobs have all contributed to the fact that 47% of college graduates were at least underemployed just last year. How many do you think among the 53% that did land jobs at the level of their education would succeed?
In our modern, digital world, a college education is no guarantee for professional success. Just as the converse is rue: just because you did not complete your degree doesn’t mean you’re destined for failure. Just ask Mark Zuckerberg.
The established standards of education and even professional career paths are currently undergoing massive shifts. There are careers today that don’t have college bachelor equivalents: social media, search engine optimisation, customer service, the list goes on. These career paths are obtained not through classroom study, but through expertise built through experience.
This means that virtual schooling doesn’t even need to be equivalent to a college education to provide the same value for students.
Students now have the option to avoid the college debt bandwagon and take the virtual schooling route, and discover for themselves how it can potentially result in professional success minus the financial burden.
Israel Defeo is the online marketing manager and writer for CompareHero. The site is the leading financial comparison guide in Hong Kong. Helping visitors to get the best broadband deal as well as credit card, mobile, loan and insurance deal