I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and saw that one teacher was cheering for one of her students receiving a $17,000 scholarship to attend the American Academy of Art. On the surface, it sounds fantastic! I thought, wow, what an amount to cover schooling. Then I started doing some calculations. It got scary real quick. I thought it would be a great opening story to my financial literacy courses in which we started a new semester today.
As I went through the syllabus with the students and we all introduced each other, I asked all the students how many of them are going to go to college. About 85% of the class raised their hands. I told them of the story of the $17,000 scholarship a student received to go to the American Academy of Art. They were all amazed at such an amount. “Wow” many of them said under their breath. Then I asked the students how much that of the four year education did they think that would cover. Most of them said half or above. I did the calculations for them on the board. (And these calculations don’t factor in annual tuition increases)
American Academy of Art
Tuition Year 1 $32,800
Other Fees $420
Off-Campus Housing Budget $6,354
Off-Campus Other Budget $2,800
Books and Supplies $1,600
Total Per Year : $43,974*
Times 4 years = $175,896
Total Bill After Scholarship: $158,896
They were shocked. The class sat there silent staring at the number. They had no idea how much certain education paths cost. I quickly stated that I am not against a college education, I am however going to teach them how to understand the total costs of their education among other things. My point was to show them the financial side of things. The truth. After all, it is a financial literacy course.
You see, when we look at scholarships on the surface, many of them look great. We celebrate them like we won an Emmy. We need to take closer looks at what is actually being offered. What is the real costs of our educational journeys. We need to see the whole picture and question it constantly. Yes. There are legit scholarships out there that will cover a lot of the costs. Unfortunately, many of them don’t. They are a sales pitch to get you or your kid to come and attend them. They know the game well. Trust me. We need to change that discussion to question the return on investment we are getting in certain educational journeys. The education game is changing and if people don’t pay attention, they could miss opportunities to get an authentic education for little or no money regardless of scholarships. Another way to disrupt education.
* Source www.collegecalc.org/colleges/illinois/american-academy-of-art