A degree is a degree

The brutally honest truth – when you are 40 years old, no one will actually care where you went to college. 

Last year, during my senior year of high school, I was so excited to have finally committed to Framingham State. I love the small history program here and I love that it is only 20 minutes away from my house so I could commute if I wanted to and save thousands. I was so thrilled until I told others that I was deciding to go to a small state school. 

“You’re going to Framingham State? What about Suffolk or UMass?” someone questioned. 

Some people could not understand why I chose Framingham State over the other really great and well-known, but really expensive, universities I was accepted to.

I could not understand why there was such a stigma about going to a small school like Framingham State. It is an amazing school with dedicated professors, well-priced tuition, and a great community. I was going to college for a degree, not the name of a school. 

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average cost of tuition at a private, non-profit is $44,551 per year. That is roughly double what I paid for my freshman year at Framingham State. 

Most people did not understand I would be paying off all my college loans myself.  I was not willing to let myself go over $100,000 worth of debt for a degree in history.

 If I had gone to my other top choice school instead of Framingham State, I would have needed to take out a loan of $40,000 per year. By the end of my four years, I would have $160,000 worth of debt, which does not include interest. 

I was often told, “you can do better.” What does that even mean? I thought my goal was to commit to a school I love, not to commit to a school solely based on their popularity or their name. 

It wasn’t like Framingham State was easier compared to my other choices. My course load for my major is still rigorous and challenging, despite the university’s lack of name recognition. 

I saw someone mention online the education received from a public university is not equally as good as that of a private or a well-known public university. It seemed like people had an elitist way of thinking about college and that my self worth was determined on where I chose to go to school and how “good” that school was considered. 

The education that you receive during college is not based on the school you choose to attend but what you make of the education you are receiving. 

So, in 2019, why is there still a stigma for going to a small state school? 

Because people refuse to realize that the degree that cost $40,000 is the same exact degree that cost $300,000. 

To students of small state schools, have pride in your school and the fact that you are bettering yourself by going to college. 

To the people who questioned my decision to choose a small state school – yes, my school might not receive as much national recognition compared to other universities. However, it is still a great and small community of hard-working students and amazing professors who dedicate their time to students like myself. 

But a degree is a degree. 

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