I am going in to a proctor to take a test on Ethics. I have been a little wrapped up in the past couple of days to do much studying, but I believe I have a fairly good grasp on the subject.
College is one of those things that just out of high school I thought I could do without. I got married right out of high school, and pregnant soon after. My husband was in the Marine Corps and while the first year was a struggle, things got easier the higher the rank. By the time he made sgt. we had no debt, always paid our bills on time, and we were doing really well.
Fast forward 8.5 years after he got out. Not having a degree hurts in more ways than I could ever imagine. In 2005, I decided that I loved photography enough that I was going to go to school for it. I spent about $14000 to find out that I am good at it, I got my AAS, and also found out that I hate portrait photography and the market in this area is full. I enjoyed every single minute I was in school but ouch.
So now, my husband and I are full time students again. I am again going with something I love, but something a little more likely to get me a job in the future. I am getting my degree in secondary education - biology to be specific. I will be certified 5-12 to teach biology or life science. As of right now there is a shortage of secondary math and science teachers. I have between 2-3 more years left on my degree. I should have enough credits to sub in another year which will help bring in some income.
Is income everything? No. But my kids are not going to be here forever. I can't see myself wandering around an empty house straightening pictures and waiting for my husband to get home. I would also like enough income that we can start really saving and perhaps one day retire instead of working ourselves right into the grave.
Can such an expense be justified? Absolutely. Look at it this way. Pell grants and scholarships help take a chunk out of my tuition. Everything else is student loans, and I do take extra to cover expenses I cannot cover on my own. I am figuring by the end of my BA with certification, I will be about $40,000 in debt with student loans, plus an additional $14,000 for my AAS. I am estimating the payment to be about $450 a month. My husband will probably add on another $350 a month, so $800 in student loans a month. That sounds like a lot until you consider the following. The only job I have ever been able to get is preschool or daycare where I made minimum wage or just over. Last year I made $8/hour. After taxes I made about $1000 a month. Absolute worse case scenario, we know we can live on one income, and that a min wage second income will pay off student loans and we are more knowledgable.
However, I anticipate actually teaching. Teachers in this area start around $36,000 a year, or about $3,000 a month. By teaching, even if my husband keeps his same job, we will be able to pay the student loans and still have extra money to live or put into savings for retirement.
And what about the kids? I homeschool true, but I am not against public school. I homeschooled my girls up through 2nd and 4th grade. They went to the local public school for two years. It wasn't working as well as I wanted so I am homeschooling again. The public school experience wasn't bad. It's just a long story that will have to be another post altogether. In any case, by the time I get to the student teaching portion of my degree, my oldest child will be a high school freshman, and my youngest will be in 7th grade. My goal was to get them at least through the elementary years as jr. high and high school give them more options. The timing works out very well for me.
I could go on all day about the subject, but I will end it here for now. It leaves me more to write another day. I just wanted to make the point that going into debt for education is one of the good debts that will in time, more than pay for itself.