RICHMOND, Ky. (FOX 56) – Graduates of the class of 2022 are leaving their high schools and are making big decisions. The former students will be juggling decisions about college, trade schools, or gap years, and the residents of Dominion Senior Living in Richmond wanted to share some tips.

Their advice ranged from encouraging graduates to attend college or a trade program to simply telling them to stay out of trouble.

“Good luck and stay out of trouble!” wrote Elaine, a resident.

James, another resident, also offered, “Get as much education as you can. Save money for the dark period.”

According to a report from the Education Data Initiative, the cost of a college education has continued to rise. When adjusted for inflation, the year’s cost at a four-year institution was about $5,013 compared to the $9,349 for an equivalent education in 2020.

“The average cost of tuition & fees at private 4-year institutions has risen 124.2% over the last 20 years for an average annual increase of 6.2%,” the report highlights.

Costs are rising and pay is lagging behind making it hard for students to earn degrees and create savings.

So saving money on education is something young adults are thinking about.

Luckily for young Kentuckians, Kentucky has access to two work colleges like Berea College in Richmond. Berea College offers every student the equivalent of a four-year scholarship. Alice Lloyd College in Pippa Passes also offers students no-cost access to education.

Those not looking at college can be comfortable knowing Kentucky is home to many well-paying jobs that don’t require a degree like plumbing, transportation, and production supervisors.

Jim at Dominion Senior Living placed trades a bit higher than college and said, “If you don’t have a trade in mind, go to college.”

Kentucky Community and Technical College System offer local branches all across the Commonwealth with training in nursing, electrical technology, welding, and more.

No matter the choices, the graduates of the class of 2022 make some seniors want to remind them they have their whole lives ahead of them.

“This is the first day of the rest of your life!” resident Judy wrote. And resident Dale wrote, “Be all that you can be!”