Beth and I went home to Iowa this past weekend, and during the long drive across Nebraska, I had an epiphany. I was listening to someone on the radio talking about how we tend to place more value on things that cost us a significant investment. As I was thinking about this, my mind turned to education (as it often does). How does this relate to the value we have about the education we invest in?

Those students who are fortunate enough to pay cash for their tuition place a high value on their education. But what about those of us who have to borrow the money. Do we place as much value on our education?

Think about it. Many of us, including me, use student loans to pay for our education. Do we value our education as much as we would if we had to pay for it out of our pockets?  In some ways, when we take out student loans it is as if the money just appears out of nowhere. Many of us tend not to think about having to pay it back.

Lately, I have had several students who let the smallest of things interfere with their ability to get their work done. I get email messages from them with excuses as to why their homework is late if they did it at all. After receiving a zero on an assignment, they want to quit the class. But when they are told by their advisor that the drop-period has passed, and they will still have to pay for it, they reach out to me and ask if there is any way they can catch up. Now they are worried about passing the course. If only they had reached out to me sooner when they began to have issues, we might have been able to work something out.

When a student is told that they will have to pay for a class, even if they fail it, they begin to realize the value of the investment they are making in their education.

Fortunately, most students who find themselves in this situation buckle down and successfully complete the course. They gain a new perspective on the value of their education. They may not get the ‘A’ they wanted, but they do finish it.

Now here is the question I have. Do you think a student who paid their tuition from their savings would have been so careless about submitting their homework? Would they have allowed themselves to be put in the position of failing a course for not completing the work? Or, would that student have done a better job of planning their time to ensure their work is completed on time.

Think about the investment you are making in your education. Whether you are paying cash or borrowing the money should not make a difference. Either way, you are paying for it. It is a major investment and should be a priority. Just something to think about.