A quarter of a million dollars. That’s the going rate for a four-year education at our nation’s top-tier institutions according to Andrew Hacker and Claudia Dreifus authors of the scathing Higher Education? How Colleges Are Wasting Your Money and Failing Our Kids and What We Can Do About It? The book says higher education in the U.S. is now a $420 billion-a-year business “that has lost sight of its primary mission: the education of young adults.””The book examines prestigious schools the controversial “”tenure track “” and what the authors call “”supersized bureaucracies that have a life of their own”” at these top public and private institutions. The authors contend that teaching and learning does happen at a much more reasonable price in many postsecondary institutions around the country.

I could’ve told them that. Once they realize the cost of sending a child off island to get an education Guam Community College and the University of Guam suddenly look very good to many of our parents. I know it’s looking good to me. Especially at $130 per credit hour at GCC and $190 at UOG and faculty that I know personally at both institutions with very high classroom expectations and standards I’ve already told my two younger children that they will take classes at either place at least for the first two years of their postsecondary education.

That’s because my first parental postsecondary education me with $50 000 in parental loans and my soon-to-be engineer with $25 000 in student loans. And that’s with the partial tuition scholarship she received at the private institution she attends. She chose a major not offered on Guam so off she went.

Financial wizard Suze Orman says you should not spend more on a college education than you can conceivably earn in a year upon graduating and getting a job in your chosen field.That sounds like a smart rule of thumb. I don’t regret for a minute my daughter having the opportunity to go off island to get her degree. I just don’t think it should cost that much for anyone to get an education.The debt is like treading water wearing a wedding dress.

Depending on your major and

what you want to do in life I also don’t think it matters so much where you get your education as much as what you put into it. It’s like the Olympics. Missy Franklin passed up the chance to move to California and train with the so-called best swimming coaches in the country. She’s had the same swimming coach her whole life and that formula has made her an Olympic gold medalist several times over.

College is the same way. At GCC we have students who earn their associate degree and go on to earn a four-year degree get their master’s and for some even their doctorate. When we send students to off-island competitions they stand toe-to-toe with the best around the country and they turn heads.

My advice is that unless you have a $100 000 – $200 000 nest egg just waiting to hatch and if your child wants to pursue a field of study that is offered here he or she will do just fine with a homegrown college degree. Save the debt for the wedding.

– Jayne Flores is the assistant director of communications and promotions at the Guam Community College. She can be reached at 735-5638 or email jayne. [email protected]