cost of a college education in puerto rico
It’s no secret that the cost of a college education has been soaring stateside. Beginning in the ’90s, the price has been rising much faster than the rate of inflation, more than doubling from 1994 to 2014! It had gotten to the point where I had begun to wonder if the return on investment even made sense anymore. We are fortunate to live at a time when anyone can affordably learn marketable skills at home, by taking courses online from sites like Udemy. They can then go and find work on freelancing sites like UpWork, where clients could care less if you have a piece of paper from an institution of higher learning, so long as you are good at what you do.
That said, college is not JUST about getting a job. Exposure to topics like history, philosophy and language, for example, enable a student to come out the other end a more well-rounded human being overall. Nevertheless, it is difficult to justify these hard to quantify, soft benefits of a university education, if it means graduating under the thumb of suffocating debt. The average yearly cost of in-state tuition and fees at a four-year public school in the states is about $9,410. Of course, the all-in price at an elite private university will run significantly higher.
Cost of a college education in Puerto Rico
In contrast, tuition and fees at the University of Puerto Rico – Mayagüez, for example, is around $2,000! In other words, you can obtain a four year degree in Puerto Rico for less than the cost of one year of college in the states! Out-of-state tuition and fees aren’t bad either at just over $4,000 annually. The surprisingly low cost of a college education in Puerto Rico really changes the ROI calculation.
However, if you are interested in taking advantage of these prices, you will probably want to move quickly. The university system is heavily subsidized by the Puerto Rican government. 9.6% of the general budget of Puerto Rico is automatically assigned to the university system by law, providing 68% of it’s revenue. With the government’s finances currently under the scrutiny of a federally appointed fiscal oversight board, it wouldn’t be all that surprising to see these tuitions rise, perhaps significantly. It will be interesting to see what tuitions will be in 6 years, when Desmond is ready to go to college.
That said, these prices are hard to ignore. If you or a child is ready for college (and speaks Spanish), perhaps this is something worth looking into further.