Can Your Internship Pay for Tuition?

To most of our readers, it will come as no surprise to hear that the costs of attending college have skyrocketed in past years. According to Forbes, the price of going to college has risen almost 8 times faster than average wages. This means current college students are spending more and more every year to obtain degrees, while their compensation has barely moved.

Our current job market makes it almost essential to have a degree, but students are rightfully concerned about whether or not they can pay for them. While there are scholarships and grants available, many students choose to work while they’re in school to help offset the cost of school.

Although there are plenty of internships and part-time jobs available to students, they aren’t a realistic way to pay as you go. By looking at the average internship pay across the country and comparing it to the cost of each state’s largest public university, was able to calculate just how much working students can afford. Even in Montana, the cheapest state in the country by these numbers, students would have to work 40-hour weeks for over 6 months to pay for just one year of college. This is crazy to think about, especially since this is considering 100 percent of your income going towards college expenses, and that you’re able to work 40 hours a week while taking a full course load.

If you find yourself living in a more costly area, such as Pennsylvania, it would take you over 70 weeks, over 16 months to pay for just one year of college. By the time you graduated, you would have needed 64 months of full-time work–that’s more than 5 years to pay off four years of school. If you step back and consider the average student working something like 20 hours a week, you would need over 10 years’ worth of those internship paychecks to get your school’s cashier’s office off your back. 

Now we all know that most students don’t expect to be able to pay their way through school with internships and graduate debt-free, but that’s the issue. As the cost of school keeps rising, it has become almost unthinkable to pay for your own education as you go. As those costs go up, wages have virtually stayed the same too. This leaves students having to ask themselves if going to college is really worth it, and preparing for a long road of loan payments ahead of them once they graduate. Good luck finding your dream job, sounds like you’re gonna need it!

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