A great way to give your child financial freedom

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By Susan Pohorski

Even though mortgage rates are good right now and rents are high, young people are not buying homes at the rate they used to. Why? One reason is they have too much student loan debt or they can’t get a good paying job.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, home ownership rates for the United States have dropped every year since 2004 from 69.2% to 64 percent in 2014. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the unemployment rate for 20 to 25 year olds was 10.1% in May of 2015. The class of 2015 graduated with an average of $35,051 in student debt, according to a study by the publisher of Edvisors.com.

What’s a parent to do? If you want your child to be able to get a good job without going into too much debt, encourage them to attend a technical college and earn a degree in a high-demand field. Or, have your child start a quest for a bachelor’s degree at a 2-year institution and save money on tuition.

New data shows that 92% of Wisconsin technical college graduates have jobs within six months of graduation and 76% are employed in their field of study. How much did they pay for those degrees? The annual tuition for attending a Wisconsin technical college is only $3,775. (Some programs have higher fees than others.) About 61% of students who earn associate degrees from a public two-year college have zero student loan debt.

Earning power of 2-year degree. The median salary for graduates with technical degrees is $40,557. However, some fields pay more than $60,000 to technical college graduates. Here is a list of the top earning associate degree programs according to the Wisconsin Technical College System 2014 Graduate Outcomes Report (salaries for new graduates):

Gas Utility Construction & Service


Technical Studies - Journey worker


Diagnostic Medical Sonography & Vascular


Power Engineering & Boiler Operator (TD)


Electrical Power Distribution


Utilities Engineering Technology


Safety Engineering Technology


Industrial Automation, Controls & Networking




Construction Management Technology


Has your child considered a technical college degree or apprenticeship? Salaries may not be a determining factor for your teen, but becoming employed should play a bigger role in their decision making for the future. Technical college graduates spend less and borrow less to gain education leading to employment. You owe it to your child to let him or her know all the options for higher education.







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