‘The smart high school grad no longer just picks a school, borrows money and wings it.’

by Grace

Mark Cuban gives advice to high school students on the importance of preparing a “college value plan”.

Unless your parents are wealthy or you quality for a full ride or something close, the days of picking a school because that is the school you always wanted to go to are gone.

The class of 2014 and beyond now has to prepare a college value plan. What classes are you going to take online that enables you to get the most credits for the least cost. What classes are you going to take at a local, low-cost school so you can get additional credits at the lowest cost.

A major hurdle is that this requires “the smart student who cares about getting their money’s worth from college” to exercise “personal discipline”.

Then, with your freshman and sophomore classes out-of-the-way, you can start to figure out which school you would like to transfer to , or two years from now, which online classes you can take that challenge you and prepare you for the areas you want to focus on. If you have the personal discipline you may be able to avoid ever having to step on a campus and graduating with a good degree and miracle of miracles, no debt.

For the smart student who cares about getting their money’s worth from college, the days of one school for four years are over. The days of taking on big debt (to the tune of 1 TRILLION DOLLARS as I write this ) are gone. Going to a 4 year school is supposed to be the foundation from which you create a future, not the transaction that crushes everything you had hoped to do because you have more debt than you could possibly pay off in 10 years. It makes no sense.

Slackers without wealthy parents do not fare well in this scenario.

Cuban still believes in college.

College is where you find out about yourself. It’s where you learn how to learn. It’s where you get exposure to new ideas. For those of us who are into business you learn the languages of business, accounting, finance, marketing and sales in college.

The question is not whether or not you should go to school, the question for the class of 2014 is what is your college plan and what is the likelihood that your college or university you attend will still be in business by the time you want to graduate.

He compares the newspaper business to higher education, and he sees a shakeout with schools that do not adapt falling by the wayside.

The newspaper industry was once deemed indestructible. Then this thing called the internet came along and took away their classified business. The problem wasn’t really that their classifieds disappeared. It was more that they had accumulated a ton of debt and had over invested in physical plant and assets that could not adapt to the new digital world.

For newspapers, higher education, and many other industries, the old ways no longer work.

Related:  Nathan Harden’s take on the big changes ahead for higher education (Cost of College)

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