Published costs of colleges tend to scare students out of applying to high priced colleges. Many students do not have a full understanding of the avenues to pay for school and decide not to apply to certain colleges because of the cost. Sources are readily available if students know where to look.
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
The Federal Government reserve funds yearly to support students to attend college. The money is available to students that qualify or demonstrate a need for additional financial support. In order to even be considered, students must submit a completed FAFSA form.
FAFSA forms are free and available online or on paper form in most high schools and public libraries. Several additional forms or paperwork are needed to complete the FAFSA, including tax returns, bank statements, and other asset records. Once completed the FAFSA is submitted to the United States Department of Education and Federal Student Aid.
If approved for funding, students will receive a confirmation of Estimated Family Contribution (EFC). Submitting this form is the only way that students can receive Pell Grants from the government. Additionally, colleges use the FAFSA EFC to determine further funding support.
Scholarships for College
Scholarships are free money given to student to pursue their education. The money does need to be repaid; however, obtaining one or more can be difficult and sometimes exhausting. Scholarships are not money that is freely given yet many students believe that scholarships will just appear to pay for tuition.
The challenge of scholarships is to locate ones that apply to the student. Colleges offer scholarships usually based on talent or merit. Businesses and organizations offer scholarships as a charitable gift. With scholarships from specific colleges, it is the college that will approach students with the monetary award. Students do not have to seek them. Business and organization scholarships will require an application process.
Each scholarship offered by a business or organization is set up according to the specifics of that institution. They are able to set the parameters for the competition. Many online scholarship searches are available for students to research. The article, Online Scholarship Searches, contain several sites for students.
Employers With Tuition Reimbursement
Many students work while in college. Several major companies offer a benefit to employees called tuition reimbursement. This benefit is extremely helpful to students. The company will pay the employee back, or reimburse, tuition once the employee finishes a course or courses. Some companies will pay for a portion of the tuition, while others will pay more. The United Parcel Service (UPS) is one of the major companies that offer tuition reimbursement to both full-time and part-time employees.
Reducing the cost of college can be difficult; however, students need to pursue all possible avenues for funding. Such sources for funding can work to reduce the overall cost of a college education. If more assistance is needed, students should access a college financial aid counselor to review potential funding resources.
Why Are College Costs Rising
Family incomes are not rising but college costs continue to climb. Even after allowing for inflation and cost of living, college is now costing families a higher percentage of family income than it did in the past. Why are there runaway costs?
Delta Cost Project Reveals the Truth about Tuition Costs
The Delta Cost Project, a nonprofit organization based in Washington D.C., states that there are three major reasons college costs are going up:
- Reaction to reductions in subsidies
- Higher costs for administration
- Student support services increasing
These do not translate into a better education for the majority of students.
College Students Need More Academic Services
While many mandates have made college more accessible to students, this has contributed to the cost of college. Many low-income students have lower academic achievements and require remedial classes and tutoring. Minority students also require more assistance in being successful on a campus. Security is now becoming a major issue with rising random campus violence. Students with emotional problems expect colleges to provide counseling and emotional support. While all of these services are valuable, they were not expected in the past.
Colleges Are Cutting Financial Corners
While students are paying more, they are not getting more. Colleges are tightening belts by having
- Fewer building projects
- Larger classes
- More part-time professors not requiring benefits
- Cutting programs that few students select
- Decreasing funding for research
However, if subsidies from states continue to decline, there will be a crises when students can no longer afford to attend large public universities. There is a limit to how much families and students can borrow. And, what will happen to the quality of education at public universities?
College Parents of America
There is a voice that speaks for parents demanding the end of this trend. College Parents of America has a full-time staff in Washington D.C. It is the voice of parents on Capital Hill. The president of this organization, James Boyle, says, “Enough is enough. The changing market for higher ed will cause colleges to hold down their expenses and state legislators to increase their subsidies
Unfortunately, until that does happen, parents will pay more than their fair share of college expenses and students will borrow more money and go into the world of work heavily in debt.