September 1, 2022

LibertyLimited Government

Hope for High Education

By: Peyton Holliday

The recent debt forgiveness for college loans has sparked a renewed conversation among Americans about the value of college, In addition to what the government is planning to do with the debts that are now forgiven. Taking out a loan for school, for a house, for a car, or for any major financial incentive is a big deal. Loans are the way that many Americans afford things that others aren’t able to. With the recent developments there is a renewed hope that those who took out loans for college will ultimately not have to pay them at all. 

Paying for an education is a big deal, takes a lot of money, and ultimately lands many Americans in debt before they are 25. Maybe there is a better way to save money on college? Or is college even the answer at all? Students looking to go to college should be asking themselves this question, but many of them don’t. Many students jump into college due to peer pressure or because they think that’s what they must do.

Nevertheless, as students make their way across the nation to move back into their dorm rooms on college campuses across America, we have to ask ourselves if the college system is still the best way to go. Books have been written about the financial frustrations of students who leave campus deep in debt, or written about the liberal mindset that has plagued our campuses. Whatever the reason, if someone is questioning college there are options beyond the classroom.

A relatively new program, but with a foundation from years of experience is a program called Ascend by Unbound. This program takes college and makes it a community of online students with projects that double as an education. Instead of sitting in a classroom students are challenged to take on a project and put their skills to use in the real world. Students have trained for a half – marathon, raised thousands of dollars to combat human trafficking, fixed up an old car, among numerous other things. The skills these students are learning is preparing them for the real world. No more case studies here, but action for your education.

If saving time and money is important to you, there is an online program called Sophia. This program offers college courses at an inexpensive price and you can complete them in as little as a few hours—depending on the subject matter and how dedicated you are. From these courses you can save thousands of dollars, transfer them into the school of your choice, and still get the dream degree, but not with the large price tag.

As an older student who may have been away from the classroom for a while and maybe you didn’t complete your degree, there are options to get those last few credits you need to save time and money. CLEP and DSST tests exist as a way for students to move through the college years at a fast pace and to make up for lost time. If you’ve always wanted to go back to school to complete your degree and you only lack a class or three, see if that class is offered as a CLEP or DSST and get that degree done. 

Another program for people needing a fast, inexpensive degree is through Pearson: Accelerated Pathways. This program helps students put together a plan for their education and coaches them through completing it. Using the resources available to students, you can complete your degree in the time that you have or need to complete. The program is geared towards helping students get the degree out of the way, so students can advance towards what is in front of them. 

While all of these programs exist and are available, there are many traditional colleges that are going the way of online, fast—paced degrees. Most state universities offer at least one or two degrees online with flexibility to do school on your own time and at your pace. Beyond state universities, Liberty University boasts a huge online college program with over 100,000 students worldwide. Using technology to their advantage, they have become well-respected in the world of online college degrees. 

So, when looking around and seeing an education system that is expensive, liberal, and maybe at times plain frustrating, there is hope. Programs are rising up to take over when traditional colleges have failed. Be on the lookout for the next big education change and when young people come asking about where to go to college, be sure that you remind them college isn’t everything. 

Degrees are helpful in the job hunt, but the way you get your degree doesn’t matter as much as it used to. No one is going to ask you in an interview how many CLEP’s you took or if you transferred your credits into a university, or even if you took a traditional route. If you did something different, use that to your advantage in an interview explaining how you have real world experience and did not spend your time on a college campus. Non-traditional education can go a long way in today’s world. 

Encourage the people in your life who are on the fence about college, they don’t have to say no— just look for a non-traditional way to do exactly what they want and save time, money, and maybe make some awesome friends along the way. In the process, know that you don’t even have to go to college. There are tons of options outside of the classroom from trade schools, even to working your way up in the business world. Research the options and make the decision that is best for you and remember that you are not alone in the college versus no college and debt versus no debt journey.