Rising College Costs

One of the most difficult financial troubles that parents inevitably confront is the cost of sending their children to college. Some parents are able to start saving early, while many are not able to develop saving plans because of everyday expenses.

Although the general trend is that college costs do increase every year, there are also some ways to offset these expenses. Many parents tend to think that college costs are extremely expensive and that the only way to send their children to college is to really cut back on basic needs. However, there are some options available which can help ease this financial difficulty.

Bad news

Before looking into ways to cope with rising college costs, it is necessary first to know the general rate of increase. By doing so, parents are able to plan more effectively and think of more options to go about the management of college expenses. According to recent reports by College Board, an association of colleges and universities all over the United States, college fees steadily rise year after year. The rate of rise is often based on inflation rate, which increases about 5 to 6 percent every year.

Other figures from previous reports can illustrate the continuous rise of college costs. In 2004 alone, a report from CNN states that the average college tuition for students enrolled in public universities increased by 10 percent from 2003. This rate includes the actual tuition fee, board and lodging fee, and miscellaneous fees. The rise in numbers jumped from $824 to $11,354. In private schools, the increase is more drastic: the average total cost rose from $1,459 to $27,516. However, the report also stated that the increase of college costs by percentage actually dropped since in 2003, the increase was recorded at 13 percent.

The aforementioned figures become more intimidating for parents of meager means when it is realized that they would have to keep up with these annual fees for four years, even five for some college degrees. The additional expenses of miscellaneous fees, such as the money that has to be shelved out for books, field work, or laboratory fees depending on the courses taken, add to the financial weight of going to college. Still, college education is pursued because of the benefits that can be gained in the long run. It is considered an investment from which the profit to be earned is truly worth it, as proven by the College Board’s report that the lifetime earnings of those with college degrees, on average, total $1 million more than those with only high school diplomas.

Good news

Even as statistics show the extreme difficulty of coping with rising college costs, there are also statistics that can show that there is big room for optimism in terms of making it through college. Of course, many of the figures mentioned are derived from rates of private academic institutions. However, many fail to realize that in actuality, studies also show that 65 percent of the student population in the United States are enrolled in universities that cost below $9000 annually, compared to the rate of private universities that can go up to $23000. Although private institutions are known to be the best universities, studies offered in public colleges should be a good alternative for families who cannot afford as much.

Also, two year courses can be another option for those who would like a more expedient solution to rising college costs. This year, it is reported that 41 percent of college students have actually chosen to pursue two year courses. In these shorter college courses, on average, a student may get $2200 through tax benefits and grants. Furthermore, state colleges and universities are viable options for students with good academic standing, given the numerous scholarships awarded to deserving recipients.

Grants can help with rising college costs.

Aids and grants are also available for those who would like to pursue higher education in private universities. This year, reports show that $134 billion monetary assistance from government and private institutions may be availed by students who are in need. It is precisely because of the high rate of college education that around 60 percent of college students are reported to be given grants and financial assistance each year. The breakdown of financial support per student is around $2000 for those in two year courses, $3000 for those in public institutions, and up to $9000 for those in private universities.

There is really no escaping the high costs of college education, but there are ways to at least cut back on the annual increase of expenses. The best way, of course, is to try to look for aid offered by different government and non-government/private groups and organizations.