My goal, through this website and through this blog, is for you to have all the information you need to make college possible. For a lot of students, myself included, this is the first big financial undertaking of your young adult life. And it is big! You’re making one of the best investments possible, though, because it’s an investment in yourself! I’ve talked to you a lot already about scholarship opportunities, earn and learn programs, grants, etc. but today I want to highlight just how important they really are.
• Most students take around 15 hours of college credit each semester. Most student handbooks say you should be spending 3 hours studying for every hour you’re in class. That’s 45 hours of study time a week plus the 15 hours you spend in the classroom. Add it all up, and that’s 60 hours a week for school.
• If you live in the state, the average price tag for one year at a public university is $19,635 according to KHEAA; that’s about $10,000 a semester.
• Many students work part time jobs to help pay for school and living costs. 20 hours a week is reasonable right?
• If you work 20 hours a week at minimum wage for the entire semester, you can expect to make about $2,600.
Recap: school requires 60 hours a week and costs approx. $10,000 a semester. Work requires 20 hours a week and earns approx. $2,600 a semester. The balance comes out to roughly $7,400 leftover each semester.
These numbers don’t look too good, do they? Especially when you consider that a 5 day work week contains a grand total of 120 hours (5 days X 24 hours).
I don’t know about you, but I sleep every night. (5 days X 8 sleep hours = 40 hours of sleep in a work week) That means you have 80 hours during the week when you’re awake and can do stuff (120 total – 40 sleep hours).
I’m going to give you a second to let soak that in.
School + Work expectations per week = 80 hours
Number of waking hours in a work week = 80 hours
THAT MEANS IF YOU SPEND EVERY WAKING HOUR DURING THE WEEK WORKING AND STUDYING, YOU’RE STILL SHORT $7,400!
Not so reasonable, now is it?
I love writing for this magazine. We talk about fun stuff and things that make college special, but I cannot stress enough the importance of scholarships, saving, planning, and earn-and-learn programs. (Student loans are available to bridge the gap, but limit these as much as you can. Your future self will thank you.) I don’t want you to look at these numbers and say “I can’t do this.” Yes, expectations are out of whack, but you are capable of making this happen. It’s not always easy, but I believe it’s good to know what you’re up against. Work with your counselor, financial aid office, and NEXT Magazine! Go into college with your eyes open, and take advantage of the opportunities before you!