It's no surprise that student debt is at an all time high. And while I do not regret the loans I took out to attend Harding, after reading this article on USA Today College I had to take a moment to sit back and wonder what we're paying for, and what is the deciding factor when choosing a university.
Upscale dining options (which, unfortunately Harding was sorely lacking), movie theaters, state of the art workout facilities, dorm rooms that are nicer than your parents house and perfectly manicured lawns are becoming the norm. In fact, some schools are spending millions of dollars because the facilities, not the academics or student life, are the main deciding factor when recruiting freshmen.
Now, I conveniently lived in a newly renovated dorm and/or apartment three of my four years. I lucked out. But the other university I was looking at had all of the bells and whistles that grab a 17-year-old's attention. At that age, I wasn't thinking about the extra $10,000 a year I would have to pay for that all-you-can eat cereal bar.
It makes me wonder if we put lavish amenities as a top priority in other areas of our lives. Do we have to have that designer bag, which the label clearly visible for all the world to see? Or maybe it's taking selfies at all of the 2014 must-visit destinations to prove how much of a globe trotter we are?
Maybe it's time to step back and look where our money and priorities are focused and ask ourselves, "When I'm still paying for this 10 years later, would I still make this decision/purchase?"