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The Cost of a Gap Year Could Come Back to Haunt You

To the Editor:
The cost of a gap year could come back to haunt you
College students have a decision to make this fall. Are online classes the best option? Is heading back to campus worth the risk during a global pandemic? Is this the best time to take a year off?
Many prospective college students are enticed by the “gap year” — an academic break for students between high school and college. With the traditional college experience in jeopardy, now is the perfect time, right? Well, it may come back to hurt your pocketbook in the future.
A study from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York estimates a student can lose up to $90,000 in future earnings by taking a gap year. This happens because a graduate would enter the job market later than they could have. They miss out on that initial year of wages as they finish college later than expected. And that wage loss can compound each year compared to the earnings of someone who entered the job market ahead of them.
“Together, these costs add up to more than $90,000 over one’s working life, which erodes the value of a college degree,” the study states.
Plus, if you are not earning money during your academic break, a gap year is going to cost you money. It may even cost you scholarships or financial aid when you do return to college if they are not guaranteed for the next year.
The traditional college experience may be out of reach, but that is no reason to fall behind. Rend Lake College’s plan for fall instruction will mostly be online learning. But at a fraction of the cost of classes offered at four-year institutions, a college student can save thousands of dollars each semester by choosing RLC.
And online classes have never been more affordable at RLC. The college has waived its online fee this fall, meaning a full-time student can save around $300 for the semester. With more than 80% of students qualifying for some form of financial aid, most students can find assistance when paying for classes.
A gap year can be enticing, but don’t let it shrink your future earnings. Continue your education in a dependable environment at RLC. Stay safe. Stay local. And save money. Get started today by visiting
Terry Wilkerson
Rend Lake College President

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