Cool Cars vs a Cool College Education

On Wednesday (Oct 26) The College Board said “about 56% of bachelor’s degree recipients at public schools graduated with debt averaging about $22,000.  From private nonprofit universities, 65% graduated with debt averaging about $28,000.”  AP via Seattle Post Intelligencer and University Business (A Guide to Obama’s Student Loan Plan)

Here’s a web article: Cool Cars under $30,000. Check out this Pontiac Solstice, turbocharged 260-hp GXP version – under $28,000.


In fact, most off the cars listed (Ford Mustang Coupe, Jeep Wrangler, Mazda MX-5 Miata, MINI Cooper S Convertible, Subaru Impreza) – were under $28,000.

One of the first purchases a student often

makes upon graduation from college is a new car. Many finance this, taking out a car loan which they expects to pay off in three or five years. No one really bats an eye at a car loan.  There’s no public outcry to

the government to help young persons manage this astronomical debt.  No special bills are proposed in congress. People consider the car an investment, they finance that purchase, and pay for the car. They don’t get 10 years or 20 years to pay off the loan.  It isn’t on a sliding scale based on their salary.  I know not everyone buys a $28,000 car – but many vehicles are a significant investment.

Why is $28,000 in college debt – for a college education which is (or should be) four years of unparalleled learning, exposure to new ideas, foundation building for future excellence, career impacting networking, international study – viewed as this unmanageable albatross around the necks of our young people?

The right college education will launch a person to their next step – graduate school, career, service.  It is an investment that’s worth increases exponentially as time passes.  Unlike a car which will stop working and, in fact, decrease in value – a college education will serve students for their entire lives.

A Ford Mustang or an Augustana education – is there really even a question in anyone’s mind which is more valuable?  Which is worth the investment? Bring on the $28,000 in loan, I say – and bring on a successful future.




About meghancooley

Meghan Cooley has worked in admissions for over 15 years. She's served in a variety of roles, ranging from tour guide to admissions counselor to her most recent position as Director of Admissions and Recruitment. Through many admissions cycles - she's experienced the ebb and flow of the higher education landscape in the Midwest, become an expert on family dynamics within the college search, guided many through the details of the college search and witnessed the joy and disappointment of student college decisions.

Now, as the Director of Recruitment Communication and Manager of social media at Augustana College, Meghan and her team of talented students focus on marketing Augustana to prospective families, educating families about the college search process, and enhancing professional development opportunities in the profession. She is passionate about increasing diversity (socio-economic and ethnic) in private higher education, alleviating the fears and frustrations that often come with a college search (especially in first generation families), and above all, helping students find the best fit for them as they explore all the educational opportunities available.

Meghan often invites guest bloggers mostly including Augustana admissions staff and current students to contribute. The talented students and staff offer a perspective in the trenches of the college search and college experience.

A 1999 graduate of Augustana College, Meghan holds Bachelor's Degrees in English and Spanish. An avid international traveler, she recommends hiking the Inca Trail to Manchu Picchu in Peru, eating Gelato in Rome, Italy, and seeing an opera at the Volksoper in Vienna, Austria. She is married to Augustana graduate and Modern Woodmen project manager, Luke Cooley. They have three sons, Charles, Oliver and Bennett.

2 responses to Cool Cars vs a Cool College Education

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