Why is college in America so expensive?

There are many reasons, but primary among them is that in a competitive world, it takes higher education to get and stay ahead. This lets colleges charge higher tuition every year, while loading students with debt that sometimes follows them for the rest of their lives.

This story from CNBC explores the realities of college costs, and Smarter Graduate is the only tool on the web that gives you a personal and comprehensive look at what college will mean to you, your finances, and your lifetime income potential.

Lifetime benefits

The benefits of higher education are clear. You are likely, on average, to make almost 3x over your lifetime with a professional degree (like medical or law school) than as a high-school graduate.


With a bachelor's degree, your lifetime earnings are almost twice as a high school graduate's.

This is not a once-size-fits-all outcome, however. There are factors to consider about your individual circumstances, including your age, financial assets, what career interests you have, and balancing that out with your personal and family needs.

Hidden costs

While a college degree can be the gateway to increased income potential for the rest of your career, the costs of college and student loans are mostly misunderstood. Smarter Graduate makes it easy to visualize your lifetime earnings with and without college degrees so you can make informed choices about higher education.

As college debt mounts nationwide, it is vitally important that you understand the finances of a college education as early as possible.

Understanding your college finances and future income through Smarter Graduate will help you get and stay ahead, and avoid the pitfalls of so many students who never escape college debt.

Rising debt

Total student loan deb in the US is now $1.5 Trillion and is outpacing auto and credit card debt.

Understanding the pros and cons of student loans, and how much repayment will cost you, can help you become a smarter graduate. Our analysis tool shows you how much you will earn, spend and pay in student loan principle and interest every year from now until retirement. Compare your numbers with different career choices, and see how your long-term financial future stacks up.

Most colleges understate the true cost of college attendance by an average of $12,000 / year.

Many colleges also include interest-bearing loans in their financial aid offer letters to potential students. We help you navigate through this uncertainty.

Read the whitepaper on the true cost of college by New America.

Smarter Graduate exists to make sense of the uncertainty around college finances, student loans and long-term income potential. 

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