We are strong advocates for promoting best practices and prudent judgement to families.  Fortunately – we rely on the research and good work of several leading non-profit foundations.  USA Funds, Helios Foundation, & Lumina Foundation have made enormous contributions to advancing the cause of students and their families who seek to complete a higher education.

The leaders of each of these foundations are doing great work.  They have wisdom, experience and a passion for the transformative impact that education can have not only on an individual student, but also on an entire family and even community.  The well-being of our Democratic society as well as the competitiveness of the nation rely on increasing educational attainment.

One of those leaders is the talented, Jamie Merisotis the author of America Needs Talent and president and CEO of the Lumina Foundation,. Lumina is focused on increasing the proportion of Americans who receive a high-quality higher education.

Merisotis asserts that there are three major factors to look at when you’re picking the right college, 

  • Affordability. Plan ahead and find the right fit in terms of your financial resources.
  • The average student experience. Some colleges do better with arts, some are more geared toward science. Also, if you’re a commuter, find out how well you’ll be accommodated at your top choice.
  • Post-graduation outcomes. What does the college say about the learning outcomes and post-collegiate experiences of its students? What work do they find? Do they go on to grad school?

There are more comprehensive lists available, but these three questions are practical guidelines for every family to consider.

The time and effort parents spend assisting their students is valuable. We remind parents to avoid “over-paying” for a college education and recognize that the financial value of a degree is largely depends upon major more than the source of a degree.  A college degree is not just about financial results, as the Labor Statistics in chart below illustrate, a higher education not only increase earning potential but also leads to increased employment levels.

National Employment Chart copy