What If We Had a Solution to the High Cost of College

Smith House Photography 

Smith House Photography 

You want an education. You’re told you need an education. But at what cost should that education come? Last year for our inaugural Create & Cultivate 100 list,  where we honored 100 women across 10 categories, we found a fairly even split amongst our 100 honorees, when it came to their thoughts on college. About half said that a college education was still important, but the other half said that college, in its traditional four-year form, was growing less important. 

In part, that has to do with the cost. It is BANK to attend college. According to the College Board, the average cost of tuition and fees for the 2017–2018 school year was $34,740 at private colleges, $9,970 for state residents at public colleges, and $25,620 for out-of-state residents attending public universities.

That’s a whole lotta dollars for students who aren’t yet employed and paying their own way. More so, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found "only 27% of college grads had a job that was closely related to their major." And though some grads work all of college to secure their dream jobs, most have no clue what field they even want to be in. And they waste precious time and money trying to figure it out. 

Like so many, Lee S. attended a four-year college. And like so many she found herself asking big questions. Life questions are often complicated by options. “Throughout my time at school,” she says. “I got more and more confused with my own personal expectations post-college. I did not know what I wanted to do. I could not envision where I belonged in this massive industry that is carved out for post-grad college kids. All I knew was that I wanted to be in a field that allowed me to interact with people. I love people; talking to different people, connecting with people, learning from as many people as I could. Yes, I would describe myself as a ‘people person,’ which to some might be a cop out, but for me it's my truth.”

She ended up landing a job at a company that allows her to interact with people as well as satisfy her creative needs. But what if there was a solution that was cost effective and helped her narrow her focus? What if she didn’t need to be so confused along her journey?

Strayer University is helping driven students do just that. 

Strayer is helping students with personalized learning solutions. To help increase attainment and improve student engagement rates – a fundamental component of success – Strayer introduced Strayer Studios, an entirely revolutionary platform featuring enhanced online content that blends Emmy Award-winning film production with real-life, engaging stories. 

In an initial pilot, 10 percent fewer students dropped courses that included Strayer Studios content – a critical data point given drop rates are higher among the non-traditional student population. 

By the end of 2017, Strayer estimates that 52,000 classes will have been delivered in the Studios format.

Moreover, according to Strayer, “Too many students take on debt, but do not finish their degrees. As a result, many fail to reap the rewards of postsecondary attainment: meaningful employment, higher salary and improved quality of life.”

"Too many students take on debt, but do not finish their degrees."

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Instead of stressing students out MORE, Strayer wondered if it could build an approach that rewarded students for their continued progress towards a degree. 

Enter the Strayer Graduation Fund, which allows students to earn a course at no-cost for every three classes they complete and has the potential to reduce the total cost of a student’s degree by up to 25 percent as long as they stay continuously enrolled. Since the program launched in 2013, student persistence from the first to second year of instruction has improved by 45 percent. And among at-risk students, first-to-second year retention rates increased by 80 percent. These are important markers because first-to-second year retention is a key indicator of a student’s likelihood of progressing towards a degree.

And isn’t that what we all want? Progress? Yes. Progress. And progress ensures that you’ll meet your goals, whatever they may be. 

Every person starts somewhere. Everyone has their own journey. Perhaps the solutions offered by Strayer will be a first step in yours. 

This is sponsored post, created in collaboration with Strayer University.