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The Cost of College in 2023: Part 2

THE SECOND ENTRY IN A TWO-PART SERIES ABOUT THE COST OF YOUR MUSIC DEGREE.

By: Dr. David Fish

Originally posted to In-Tune Monthly.

The first part of this series can be found here.



“Your time in school is vital, formative, and short compared to a working life. As with everything in life, it’s worth doing at the highest possible level.”

Mark Rubel, the Director of Education and Instructor at Blackbird Academy

What Can I Do about the High Cost of Education?

How can you make college more affordable if you do not live in Kalamazoo or do not have time to wait for the College Affordability to pass? There are quite a few things you can do. Some of them begin while you are still in high school. For one, you can take advanced placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses that allow students to earn college credit. Some community colleges also allow students to enroll in classes while still in high school. Both strategies can help you reduce the number of semesters it will take to graduate from college.

Where and how you go to college can also help make the experience more affordable. For example, more and more students are beginning their higher education at a community college for a couple of years and then transferring to a four-year institution. This approach can help you take care of general education and prerequisite requirements. Plus, tuition is usually much cheaper at a community college, and class sizes are smaller, giving you the personal attention needed to start strong as a college student.

While it may sound counterintuitive, attending a more prestigious institution may wind up being the cheaper option. Looking past the general tuition published at such a school, you will often find scholarships available for study due in part to the largess of high-profile donors. Regardless of their economic status, honor students are common recipients of such scholarships, so keep those grades up in high school!


Other Possibilities

One traditional way to help pay for college is by working while going to school or even at a college or university through its work-study program. Joining the military also comes with GI benefits that pay up to $17,500 per year for schooling. We can add other options to this list, like attending summer and winter terms and studying online. And did you know some colleges and universities charge no tuition to some if not all students? The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia is like an education fairy godmother for music students. It has never charged students for tuition since it first opened its doors in 1928. It only accepts 4% of those who audition for it, though. So, keep practicing!

One final way to help make college more affordable is to work in a public service capacity after you graduate. Doing so may bring forgiveness of federal student loans under the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007. Combining the above strategies can help defray the cost of higher education if you are a savvy educational consumer, but you must take the lead in doing so.

Some graduate programs are also mindful of the burden that tuition can apply. Associate Dean of Graduate Studies, and Professor of Music Therapy at the University of Miami Frost School of Music, Shannon de l’Etoile, Ph.D. therefore offers her take on this situation in the quote below.

“Graduate students at the Frost School have access to a diverse array of funding opportunities to support their continued education. We also support students coming out of our undergraduate programs by offering special alumni scholarships, and recently instituted a new five-year master’s degree option which greatly reduces many of the inherent costs that can be tied to a graduate degree.”

Associate Dean of Graduate Studies, and Professor of Music Therapy at the University of Miami Frost School of Music, Shannon de l’Etoile, Ph.D.

Cost versus Value

Mark Rubel, the Director of Education and Instructor at Nashville’s Blackbird Academy, points out that the bottom line of a college education is more about value than cost. “Your time in school is vital, formative, and short compared to a working life. As with everything in life, it’s worth doing at the highest possible level.” Keep those words firmly in mind as you consider schools to attend and the cost versus the value they provide.

Finally, Associate Dean, Undergraduate Studies at University of Miami Frost School of Music Steven Moore sums it up by saying the following quote.

“Quality education is a high-value investment in your future. The awards you have been offered should make it possible for you to attend. If it is the right school for you, your experience will repay itself in dividends that will last a lifetime. As a savvy and discerning student, you should choose a school based on more than a side-by-side cost comparison. With something this important, it is not the time to settle for average over high-quality to save a few dollars. Similarly, you want to choose a school that has a strong value proposition. The school—and you—are well worth the investment of your time and money. You want to enhance your natural passions and abilities with the skills and experience necessary to earn a living, and to live a life worth living.”

Associate Dean, Undergraduate Studies at University of Miami Frost School of Music Steven Moore

About the Author

Dr. David Lee Fish, Ph.D., is senior associate with Inside Music Schools and works with all the families and students we serve. He brings to his role a long, successful career in both music and higher education. David founded and continues to direct the degree concentration in popular music as a tenured professor at Catawba College in Salisbury, North Carolina. In that role, he has gained expertise in a range of subjects, including music business, technology, and theory. He also co-founded and is a past president of the Association for Popular Music Education, the leading professional organization for educators in that field. His participation has helped him forge relationships with fellow faculty of popular music across the country and intimate knowledge of their programs.


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