The True Cost of the Best Years of Your Life

Ordinarily one can quite easily get the sense that they can accurately work out what the cost of going to college is, given the rather explicit manner in which fees are advertised and quoted. The cost goes a little deeper than that however and it goes way beyond just tuition, accommodation, books, etc.

You’d be making a very good start in factoring-in what can otherwise be easily referred to as peripheral costs of your quest to work out the true cost of the best years of your life, but that’s only the tip of the ice-berg. It’s a great start nonetheless.

So what is the true cost of the best years of your life?

The good news is that it’s not merely a matter of just tallying absolutely everything up and adding it all together to come up with the true cost of your university years. There are some elements which work in your favour, even if you’re only considering them on a longer-term basis. And by longer term basis I mean you’re only really going to be considering them once you’ve obtained your qualification, amongst so many other things you will have naturally taken away from your further learning and education experience.

So there’s obviously the core costs, which I’ve already mentioned, including your tuition, accommodation and textbooks, so too the costs to sustain yourself such as any money you spend on commuting, if applicable and even the cost of keeping yourself sane with the entertainment you engage in.

So when we talk about the net value you get out of your minimum of three to four years at university, we have to consider the future value of the qualification you come away with. What is the starting salary you’re likely going to earn and will you even be able to land yourself a job without first having so slum it up further with the remuneration received by a typical intern? Do you have a scholarship or bursary to “pay off” in the form of having to work for a company which granted you that funding, for a stipulated period of time? If so, how much are you effectively going to earn?

There’s a lot to consider and it would be a real chore if you actually drilled down to the finest details of each, but this is a rather painful exercise that would actually help you out a lot, especially if you’re at that point in your life where you’re actually still considering which academic course to pursue. It can really put things into perspective.

The bottom line is this – the rather large sums of money which you pour into your academic endeavours have a monetary value which can be measured right down to the finest detail if you take the time and effort to delve into it. If you can walk away from this endeavour and you can practically work towards recovering those costs within a time of your choosing really, then you can honestly say that you’ve spent the best years of your life building up assets you can monetise as opposed to just spending money.

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Tim Spafford

Tim is a student who works hard to get a degree in finance and build a successful career in business consulting. Being a student and living in London Tim has a real-life experience in budgeting, saving, money making, traveling and having fun.