Every tenth of the month, I sit down at my computer, check my student loan bill, and empty my bank account to pay off my monthly installment. I loved school, I'm glad I have my degree and can attest that it's added real weight and authority to my resume, but still, it cost me a small fortune I'm not sure I'll ever pay off.
As I bitterly hit "pay now" and watch my bank account become a scary reminder that the Ghost of Christmas Future will greet me at my funeral with one final notice from Sallie Mae, I wonder if this was all really worth it.
We talk a lot about going to school to get that great, you-need-it degree. School is fun. School is helpful. School can be the thing that really does elevate your resume into the "Great Candidate!" pile. But we often overlook the bottom line: Is it a crazy waste of money to go back to school in the first place? Take our poll and then check out what you said:
%embed1% On the bright side, many military spouses are eligible for MyCAA benefits, which will cover a certain amount of school and can be a ticket to a good job. (In fact, here's a list of jobs you can get that are actually worth doing that only require an Associate's degree. I talked to a lot of military spouses actually doing these jobs for the round up, so I can personally promise you that not only can you get them, but they're reasonable to pursue while also balancing the whole military installation location and military family demands thing.)
But for the bulk of spouses ineligible for those benefits, the average in-state, public university tuition bill - a hefty $22,261 a year - is enough to make even the most education-friendly start to weep quietly into their school books.
Here at SpouseBUZZ and the Spouse Channel (Military.com/Spouse), we try to be realistic. Going back to school is hard financially, physically, emotionally, and for the whole family. To make sure that decision is worth it, we think it's important to ask ourselves the hard questions:
What kind of debt will I incur? How do I plan to pay for it? (Both in the short-term and the long-term) How will the military Murphy's Law my plans? Is this the right place for me to become a student?
If you're thinking about school and want to dig in a little more to figure out those answers, read on. And rely on fellow military spouses for their advice: Is going to school always a good idea? Or does the expense outweigh the benefit? Tell us what you think.