The Rising Cost of College
As the cost of college continues to rise, more young students in their early 20s graduate with large amounts of debt. In addition to already owing money upon graduation, young people starting out are also entering an unsteady economy where getting your foot in the door at a decent job is more competitive than ever. If you have a son or daughter who plans on attending college there are a few things that you should know.
How Students Can Save Money
Although college is expensive, there are some ways that students can save money during their college journey:
-Encourage your child to get good grades in high school and apply for academic scholarships. Many private schools award full scholarships for academic excellence.
-Apply for financial aid. Before taking out a student loan, your teen should fill out a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form. If your household income is under a certain amount based on your family size and the cost of living in your area, your child may be able to get some or all of their college education for free. This program often is able to help students from single parent households.
-Buy used books. Always encourage your child to purchase used books in the college book store. This can save several hundred dollars a year.
-Attend community college first. Community colleges have staggeringly lower tuition credit rates than four year universities. Your teen can start out at a community college and then transfer to a four year school for the last two years of their education.
-Work study. If your child’s school has this program available, encourage your teen to get a flexible work study job on campus to help pay for books, spending money or their food plan.
-Commuting. If your teen already has their own car, picking a school that they can commute to can save thousands of dollars on dorm fees.
Reasons That College Tuition Keeps Rising
You would think that in a down economy college tuition should drop as well. However, that is not the case. College tuition continues to increase during rough times for a variety of reasons:
-Students think that they need more education. When college students listen to the news and hear how rough the competition is to get a job, it can lead them to believe that they need to go to a fancy school, get a special certification or continue on to graduate school if they want to stand a chance in the real world.
-The best schools demand the best teaching staff. Teachers with multiple doctorates and master’s degrees demand high salaries. If the college does not bring in enough tuition money, the school can not afford to pay these professionals.
-Technology. Years ago students used paper and pencils in school. Now schools need to afford computers, fancy labs, TV editing studios and other equipment so that students can learn skills on the kind of up-to-date equipment that they will be seeing in the work world.
What Can Be Done
Although change will not come overnight, it is important to fight back. If you and your child do not want to be in debt over college tuition the government and learning institutions need to know about it. You and your teen can attend protests against high tuition costs. You can also become an advocate for more online classes which can help schools to save money and in turn be able to eventually lower tuition.
High college tuition will effect your whole family, not just your college aged child. Freshmen need a co-signer for their student loans, which is typically a parent or grandparent. If you co-sign a large student loan for your child and they can not make the payments post graduation, the government will look for you to pay up. Paying student loan bills can be very difficult and draining for middle class families who have other bills to pay and other younger children living in the household.