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Is College in the US Worth the Price?

 Before reading check these out:       

Vocabulary (in this context)




pound the pavement


to walk through the streets looking for a job

Get your nose to the grindstone


to work very hard, without stopping to rest



Lindsay:   In today’s episode, you’ll learn how to get other people to pay for your college education in the US.

Gabby:  Today we’re talking about ‘is college or university worth the cost?’ because in the US, it is extremely expensive to go to school. We have some excellent universities, but um, the cost can sometimes be prohibitive

Lindsay:   Oh, it’s crazy isn’t it? and the cost has just been going up… 

Gabby:  It has. 

Lindsay:  …over the past 20 years. 

Gabby:   It has been. So do you think, just in general, do you think it’s worth it? Is it worth it to you?   

 Lindsay:  Oh, it’s a good question. It’s a good question. I don’t know. I think about this a lot and to be honest, I feel like less and less so, these days, you know? Because you can really educate yourself without a college degree and these days it’s sort of a – at the same time to get a job you kinda (kind of) do need that degree on your resume, but for example, a Master’s degree, in my opinion, might not be worth it. 

Gabby:  Oh interesting. So maybe it depends on your field? 

Lindsay:  Yeah. Maybe. Depends on what you wanna (want to) do. 

Gabby:  Yeah. So I think my viewpoint is a little different. I think that education is the key to success. 

Lindsay:  Uh-huh. 

Gabby:   So I think that um, getting your Master’s degree, even going on for more education is always a good idea. Um, investing in your education is always, always going to, um, bring you forward and, and hopefully get a good job or teach you the skills that you need to um, create your own job. So I think that being in school teaches you a lot. Uh, yes you can learn things outside of school…

Lindsay:  Yeah. 

Gabby:  …but also having that um, certificate or degree. I think it means something. 

Lindsay:   Yeah. 

Gabby:  It is still valuable. 

Lindsay:  It gives you some credibility. I just think about opportunity cost, right? So that time that you’re spending in graduate school or that time you’re spending on your PhD, like what could you be doing instead and…

Gabby:  You could be working. 

Lindsay:  Right working or gaining skills that you may not be able to gain in graduate school. So it’s a different set of skills that you might be gaining. Just think just understanding what you really want to do in your career and does that require a degree. Does it really require a degree? 

Gabby:  Yeah. That’s a good question. I also think that -- although you can go to school any time in your life and it’s never too late, it’s definitely, um, more advantageous to go to school as soon as possible, like when you’re younger, because as you get older, you start making more money and then to take time off to go back to school actually costs you more when you think about the cost of tuition plus the cost that you’re losing from your salary. 

Lindsay:  Oh right. 

Gabby:  Yeah. How did you -- what did you say?

Lindsay:  Yeah, just opportunity cost- the missed opportunities that you’re not getting and that could be money from the salary- that could be…

Gabby:   Right. 

Lindsay:   …other jobs you might wanna (want to) try, internships you might wanna (want to) take, but you couldn’t do…

Gabby:  Yeah. 

Lindsay:   …if you’re in school. Yeah and when you get older, you might have a family and it becomes harder to actually take that time I mean being in graduate school takes a lot of time. 

Gabby:  Well I know someone who’s working full-time and he has a wife and a son and he’s doing a PhD program. 

Lindsay:  Wow! Good for him. 

Gabby:  Yeah, he’s a very busy guy. 

Lindsay:  Yeah. 

Gabby:   Yeah, I think one, one uh, important topic is to talk about how to actually make university cost less.

 Lindsay:  Yes. And you did a really good job of that, didn’t you, when you were in school? 

Gabby:  I did. 

Lindsay:   How did you do that Gabby?

Gabby:  So for my undergrad, I was working for the City of Portland, Maine at the same time as going to school and they happened to have a program where they would pay for half of my tuition

Lindsay:  Wow! That’s awesome!

Gabby:  So if you can find a job through the city, through the government, or even other jobs, ask your employer if they have any kind of um, assistance program to put you to (through) school. Sometimes you don’t even have to be working full-time. It could be part-time work and they still help you out with your tuition. So that was a major way that I saved money um, and I encourage you all to- just ask your employer if you’re working about that and also applying for scholarships. So I did get some small scholarships, but every little bit helps and financial aid. So if you can fill out the FAFSA form, it’s known as F-A-F-S-A, you might qualify for aid and there’s (there are) a lot of different ways you can qualify. Maybe if you come from a family where no one else has gone to school or if you don’t make that much money or don’t have that much money, um, or if you have really good grades in high school or from another program. Those are all reasons that would qualify you- or something random like maybe you are a certain ethnicity or you know, you do something…

Lindsay:  Play the violin. 

Gabby:  Exactly. So there’s (there are) a lot of scholarships out there. 

Lindsay:  Great. So you were able to get your Bachelor’s and your Master’s degree partly paid for? Both degrees, partly paid for?

Gabby:  Well that was my undergrad. My graduate degree was um – I did get a scholarship, so that was partly paid for and even though I was going to school full-time, I decided to work part time at the same time, which kept me very busy, but…

Lindsay:  I can imagine. 

Gabby:  …you know, for my budget it helped a lot. 

Lindsay:  Cool. 

Gabby:  Yeah. 

Lindsay:  Awesome. So you really worked the system. I like that. 

Gabby:  Yeah. I think you have to hustle a little. 

Lindsay:   That’s what you have to do. You have to pound the pavement, find a solution. Okay. 

Gabby:  Exactly.

Lindsay:   Good. 

GabbyGet your nose to the grindstone. As they say- we have lots of idioms. 

Lindsay:   Absolutely. Absolutely. Great. Well thanks for letting us know about that today. 

Gabby:  Yeah. Thank you. So um – great. So there are ways to go to school. Don’t, uh, don’t give up. 

Lindsay:   Don’t discount it, but do think critically about whether or not it’s right for you. 

Gabby:  Absolutely. Good point. Cool. Thanks Lindsay.

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