Thousands of dollars in debt before even locking down a job. It's the dilemma college graduates face these days as the cost of college rises.
As many freshman embark on four years of higher education, many families find themselves in a bind.
The cost of college has parents weighing different options to get that degree for less.
Tuition costs for some of the state's largest public universities rise nearly 10% each year.
In the last five years, tuition alone for the University of Alabama rose from $5,700 dollars to $9,200 dollars.
For Auburn University, $5,800 dollars to $9,450 dollars.
"There is definitely sticker shock especially the closer you get to time to send the children to college," says Wells Fargo Financial Advisor Hart Johnson.
He says college is a topic of discussion with his clients.
Now, more than ever, parents are weighing private vs. public and trying to decide if the cost pays off in the end.
"The fact that it costs 60-thousand dollars at an elite university...that's a significant amount of money and that's for one year. And so you start talking about a four year education at one of these universities, that $240,000 over four years...that goes a long way toward retirement."
Studies show the amount of money required for a 4-year degree from a private or public university far outweighs some starting salaries for certain types of degrees like the arts, for instance.
In fact, the same studies show students are taking the burden of the cost on themselves--winding up thousands of dollars in debt when they graduate.
Johnson says nowadays, where a college is located matters more than which one it is.
"Living at home and choosing to go to a local school as opposed to going off because then you have the tuition costs but you're saving a lot on the room and board."
Johnson suggests if you have small children start saving for college now.
Studies show most parents are spending less money out of pocket for college costs and relying on scholarships and grants to pay the bulk of the expenses.
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