Higher Education – A Priority for Who
A recently published report by the National Association of State Student Grant and Aid Programs demonstrates that although the U.S. is currently undergoing an economic downturn, higher education still remains a priority. As reported by Inside Higher Ed, the Annual Report “reveals that in the 2008-9 fiscal year, state spending on need-based and non-need-based grant aid for undergraduates rose by 5.6 percent over 2007-8. (Over all, state spending on financial aid rose by 2.7 percent over 2007-8.)” In the State of Florida, our spending rose higher than the national average at 6.8 percent.
This is great news for high school students and professionals interested in pursuing higher education. We see that going to the next level of knowledge and pursuing a degree, whether undergraduate or even technical is not only supported by the government, it is also financially incentivized. Education is, as seen through the annual report, a priority for the federal and state governments. As we undergo tough economic times, we see that this remains important. The government understands that to overcome this debacle, we need to educate our population, helping them be ready to undertake the challenges of development.
States are trying to continue to provide financial aid in both forms – merit and need-based. With such low income becoming essential to receive need-based aid, merit aid becomes even more important to the majority of the student applicant population. Reported statistics for “Undergraduate financial aid that is based purely on need grew by a rate of 5.0 percent, to $6.014 billion, while aid based on academic merit and factors other than need rose by 7.3 percent. to $2.324 billion”, as quoted on Inside Higher Ed.
This new statistic also has implications on those who lost their jobs and are considering a career change. It is a good time to invest in education, especially with the support of the federal and state government. Although a 4-year degree is a good choice for many, an associate degree is another great alternative when considering higher education. It usually is more affordable than a four-year degree and could provide a quicker return on investment.
A college education is also something to consider if you are unemployed. With the new passed bill regarding the extension of unemployment insurance, if you have not yet found a job, it might be worth your while to enroll in school. Depending on the support your college provides, there is a chance that while you are receiving your financial aid, you will also be able to continue receiving unemployment benefits. This will buy time and opportunity for you and your family.
The conclusion is simple – the U.S. government supports education, your State supports education, your community supports education; why wouldn’t you! Unequivocally, it is the best investment you can make in your life, for not only it can and most probably will payback exponentially, it will bring satisfaction, a sense of accomplishment and advanced knowledge in a field of study to you.