The High Cost of College

How to decide whether a four-year degree is right for you.

high cost of college

In a post from May last year we pondered the question, should everyone go to college? And what might still be surprising to some, the answer was a resounding no. As eNotes editor and college professor Jamie described it then,

I believe anyone who wants an education should  pursue one. But I also see many incredibly gifted students who have skills that they are actively discouraged from mastering because they are supposed to have a Bachelor’s degree.  I see young people who have no real interest or desire to stay in school another four years who are miserable and many who are racking up debt when they could be doing something they enjoy, avoiding debt, and making money.

The prevailing opinion in America is that every student must go to college; if they don’t, they’ve somehow failed, or been failed by the system. Yet the cost of an American college education is among the highest in the world. So, if that college degree does you no favors in the job force, or if you drop out before completing your four years, you’re burdened with a mass of student debt to shoulder for the next twenty years.

That’s why it’s important to look at the costs of a college education, weighing out the pros and cons of each side and determining what’s right for you. If you plan to spend your life in academia, of course a university education is a necessity. But if you’d be better suited to a skilled trade, would the debt and time spent out of the workforce pay off? Here’s an excellent infographic from affordable-online-colleges.net to help you weigh your options. You might be surprised by what you find, like the high success rates of those who choose a two-year college over pursuing a Bachelor’s degree.

Read on and let us know your thoughts and questions!

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New to eNotes: Annotated eTexts!

For a long time at eNotes, we’ve displayed eTexts on the site–entire works that anyone can access for free. But recently we’ve worked to make them even better. Welcome to our all new Annotated eTexts!

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What’s an Annotated eText?

Have you ever underlined words or made notes in the margins of your books while reading them? These notes help to re-familiarize you with a passage of text when you flip back through it, or draw out evidence that points to a novel’s main themes. Well, now those notes are made for you, and by the very same teachers who expertly answer your questions in eNotes Homework Help.

With real teachers and professors helping you with your homework, how can you go wrong?

How do I find them?

All of eNotes’ eTexts can be accessed by clicking the eText header link via any page of the site:

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Pick a work from over 120 Annotated eTexts on this list. A full list of all of our eTexts can be found here. Both lists are alphabetical.

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Check Out eNotes’ Top TAs!

eNotes’ TAs have been busy answering questions for the past month. And now you can see just how many on the brand new TA Leaderboard here.

Simply click on the far right tab labeled “TA Leaderboard” to see who’s at the top.

TA Leaderboard

The TA with the most answers of the month receives a $50 bonus on top of the rewards they receive for answering questions. And the TA with the best answers of the month gets a bonus, too!

Interested? Email us at ta@enotes.com for more info. This job opening is for high school and college students only please.

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We look forward to hearing from you!


Why We Love the New eNotes Study Guide Pages

eNotes’ study guides have a new look! Check out our top 3 reasons why they’re new and improved:

1. Quick and easy access to the information you need most

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2. Homework Help on the study guide page

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3. Find what’s trending in every subject

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But enough gushing from us! Why not check them out for yourself and let us know what you think? Browse eNotes’ 40,000+ Literature study guides at this link. With eNotes, you can trust that all of our content is unique, expert, and in-depth, making our study guides your best resource for all of your class assignments!

Contact us on Twitter or Facebook today for your free pass.


Become an eNotes TA!

Are you a high school or undergraduate student interested in helping your fellow peers? Perhaps you tutor on the side, or go out of your way to help friends with their homework? Well, now there’s a place at eNotes just for you!

eNotes is looking to enlist a small team of student contributors that we’re calling our eNotes TAs.

keep-calm-i-m-a-teaching-assistantWhat’s a TA?

A TA (Teaching Assistant) is somewhere between a student and a teacher; they have the required knowledge to help others with the subject matter at hand, but can explain it all in a way that their fellow students will understand. eNotes TAs will work in our Homework Help section, writing original answers to eNoters’ questions from around the world. Along with our team of real-life Educators, eNotes TAs will help to make Homework Help your top choice for expert answers and instruction provided in the clearest way!

To join this team you must be enrolled in school (high school or undergraduate) and possess an enthusiasm for learning and sharing what you’ve learnt.

In return, eNotes TAs will receive:

  • free premium membership to eNotes (unlimited access to our 250,000+ study guides, plus up to 5 Homework Help questions per day)
  • valuable resume or college application experience
  • special gift card rewards based on the attainment of pre-set goals

How to apply:

If you’re interested in becoming a part of the eNotes team, please submit your application to become a TA to jgardner@enotes.com. Make sure to include a little bit about yourself, your grade level, and what makes you a strong candidate for the TA program. We look forward to hearing from you!

Check back at eNotes.com later this Fall term to see our TAs in action!


See what your friends are up to on eNotes!

We’ve just installed a new addition to eNotes to help keep you better updated on your account activity. Check out the new social header at the top of our pages!

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With this new alert system, you’ll find new messages, friend requests, and updates from your friends much easier than before. Simply click on the bell at the top right of your page to access any new correspondence.

We also want to make sure you find your way to all the new questions and answers coming in to Homework Help all the time. Spend a bit of time on a Homework Help page, and we’ll show you the number of new items that have been submitted since you arrived there:

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Check out all those new answers popping up in the Answered queue!

If you’re not already an eNotes member, find out how signing up for a free account can help you study smarter, with free daily Q&A, quizzes, and study guides to over 30,000 works in Literature alone. You can also chat to us on Facebook or Twitter for more info and trial passes.


What the $$$$ Just Happened to My Student Loans?!!

Paying for college is tough enough, but have you heard about the recent hikes in interest rates for student loans? Read on to find out how this affects you as either a current student or someone in repayment, plus how government officials plan to resolve the issue of crippling student debt.

As of yesterday, Stafford Loan interest rates doubled from 3.4% to 6.8%. Congress did not pass an alternative measure before the July 4th break, which will end at 2:00pm on Monday, July 8th. However, it still has the option to pass a measure that will retroactively affect the rise in interest rates, altering the Stafford Loan rates for this year’s students and perhaps others. This article will outline a few of the options Congress faces, what changes may be made, and how those changes might affect students with Stafford Loans.

Student Loans Crippling Many

Protestors advocate against increased interest rates.

What is a Stafford Loan and how does it work?

Stafford Loans are the most common kind of federal student loans available. They are available to students at accredited institutions

in the United States, a category to which most colleges and universities in the United States pertain. Stafford Loans can be either subsidized or unsubsidized. Of these, subsidized loans tend to have lower interest rates, and the federal government pays the interest that the loans accrue. Contrastingly, the interest that accumulates on unsubsidized Stafford Loans is capitalized, meaning that it is added to the part of the loan on which interest is paid.

Subsidized Stafford Loans are available to those who demonstrate financial need via the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, which must be renewed each year a student wishes to apply. Unsubsidized Stafford Loans are available to all students who meet the Stafford Loan requirements, which can be found here.

In addition to Stafford Loans, the government gives out PLUS Loans, which are unsubsidized loans and in the past have had higher interest rates than Stafford Loans. PLUS Loans are available to graduate students and parents of students.

The Option Proposed by President Obama:

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