All Articles Tagged "college tuition"
As Spring makes its way across the country, so do college acceptance letters for high school seniors. While students are happily rejoicing, parents are wondering where they will find the money and pray that their children won’t end up defaulting on future loans.
“This is the month of negotiating,” Bob Ilukowicz, a financial aid consultant said to Reuters. Ilukowicz says that there is definitely aid still available. In fact, this upcoming 2012-2013 school year is seeing higher offers than those of years past. The average cost of a private nonprofit four-year college is now $38,590 including tuition, fees room and board but aid, classified as grants and federal tax breaks, generally take off $15,530 from that cost. According to the US Department of Education, about 80 percent of full time undergraduate students receive some kind of aid, and almost 64 percent receive grants that don’t have to be paid back. Still, student loans make up almost half of all financial aid.
Reuters suggest that in lieu of these facts, the first things parents and students should do is ask for more. Joe Paul Case, Amherst College’s financial aid administrator reveals that about two-thirds of parents who make a request for more aid get it. Amherst is a school that sticks to needs-based assistance, but schools that have the funds to offer merit and competition demands offer an even better chance that a parent’s appeal will be rewarded.
Be open and honest about family situations. Some colleges will take family problems that don’t appear on the financial aid sheet into consideration. Situations that often get re-considered are instances where non-custodial parents are not willing to help with school fees, and parents that now have good jobs but weren’t able to fully recover from a year of unemployment or healthy problems.
Think creatively. Starting school at a more affordable community college to take pre-requisites saves money. Taking a gap year to work before going to college also helps to offset the high cost of tuition. If a deferral puts the older student in college at the same time as the younger, this may also help a parent’s case to win more financial aid.
Schools that won’t negotiate may allow parents to pay on a monthly basis as opposed to a one large sum in a semester. This can help with cash flow. Also keep in mind that home equity credit lines now have lower rates than college loans. In addition, refinancing a home mortgage may also help with college costs.
Remember, before any decisions are made, consider all options and make as many appeals as you can. Many students aren’t able to attend their first-choice school because of finances. But consider the high cost of tuition vs. education quality and job opportunities upon graduation. Research shows that great students will do well regardless if they attended a public or a private school. Perhaps it’s best not to spend all of the money and obtain thousands of dollars in debt for an undergraduate education.
(New York Times) — Each incoming freshman at Randolph-Macon College this year was eligible to take part in a brief signing ceremony. The new student, along with a parent and the college president, could sign a special agreement that is emerging at some colleges and universities: As long as the student keeps up with academic work and meets regularly with advisers, the college guarantees that earning a degree there will take no more than four years. If it fails to hold up its end of the bargain — if required classes are not available, or if advisers give poor counsel — the college promises to cover the cost of additional tuition until the degree is completed. Four-year degree guarantees, as they have become known, are being offered at a growing number of smaller private colleges. They work as a marketing tool, giving colleges a way to ease parents’ fears that their children might enjoy college enough to stick around for five or six costly years. And they help to focus attention on the task at hand: graduating in four years.
(Washington Post) — American families spent 9 percent less on college in the 2010-11 academic year than in the previous year, reversing a recent trend toward increased college spending, according to a new Sallie Mae study. Previous surveys from the student loan giant found families spending progressively more on college from the 2008 to 2010 academic years, despite the recession. Why the sudden shift? More families began moving to lower-cost schools in 2010-11, the survey said, with a sharply higher share of high-income students choosing community college. There was also a rise in the sheer number of low-income students, some of whom presumably were middle-income students a year earlier, the study said. It also found that middle- and high-income families are spending less out of their own pockets (and bank accounts), and low-income families are spending more.
(Smart Money) — With freshman orientation right around the corner, many college students and their parents are about to get a surprise that could derail years of careful financial planning: last-minute tuition increases and cuts to financial aid packages promised just a few short months ago. As states have finalized their budgets in recent weeks and months, cuts to public college funding have started to trickle down to parents and students. Since March, at least 19 states have cut money for public colleges. Some states, including Illinois and Georgia, are also slashing grants awarded to students just a few months ago. Still more families won’t find out about changes to tuition and financial aid packages until the end of the summer or even after the semester begins — what experts say is the longest delay ever. “This will create real hardship for these students and may impact directly on their ability to enroll this fall,” says Tom Horgan, president of the New Hampshire College and University Council.
(AJC) — Starting Monday, Georgia students can apply for a low-interest loan designed to serve as a “gap stop” for those who need extra help affording college. The program is no money tree. Loans are estimated to reach less than 6,000 of the neediest students. Recipients may be arbitrarily chosen via computer. Though lawmakers last February set aside $2o million in lottery revenue to launch the Student Access Loan Program as part of the HOPE scholarship overhaul, details of the program were only learned Tuesday by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
(Bankrate) — Parents seeking an investment safe haven that provides guaranteed returns may not find one in prepaid tuition plans. Long touted as a no-risk way to save for college, prepaid plans generally allow parents to purchase college credits at slightly above current market prices, and then cash them in when their child heads off to school. Some investors predict that prepaid plans may be a thing of the past in coming years. Since 2008, several prepaid plans have either closed down entirely or stopped new enrollment, as Tennessee recently did. The 10 remaining state-run prepaid plans and one independently operated plan provide good value, but also come with restrictions on where funds can be used and questions about whether funds are safe. Here’s what you need to know before investing in 529 prepaid tuition plans.
By Charlotte Young
As Americans struggle to cover the cost of increasingly high tuition in recent years, many are left wondering whether a higher education is indeed a good investment.
The Pew Research Center set out to answer that question in a new study called “Is College Worth It?” Their results confirm that yes, it is worth the money—maybe. Three-fourths of those surveyed believe that the cost of college is no longer affordable, but 86 percent of college graduates said for them, “it was a good investment.”
President Obama agrees; as such, he has set a goal of having the U.S. dish out the largest number of college graduates in the world by the year 2020, according to CNN.
Those who have a college degree estimate that they make an average of $20,000 more a year. Essentially, college graduates could potentially earn about $550,000 more in a lifetime. But for those who only have a high school degree, they believe that they make $20,000 less a year since they don’t have a college degree.
But it’s not just the college degree that makes the money–it’s the field of study. College grads that choose a line of work with a low salary range may make as much or less thank high school graduates.
Money aside, the study did find that those who went to college were more satisfied in their careers.
“You have a public that understands that college is important,” Paul Taylor, one of the authors of the study, told CNN. “But at the end of the day, if you push them and ask is it college or character, people place more importance on character than a college diploma.”
(New York Times) — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Monday that he would support allowing the flagship campuses of the State University of New York to charge higher tuition than the rest of the system, a stance that could pit him against fellow Democrats who worry that lower-income students could be priced out of the top schools. The governor said he would support a State University proposal to set a five-year schedule of tuition increases at all SUNY undergraduate campuses, and would allow the four research campuses — at Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo and Stony Brook — to propose their own, higher undergraduate tuition increases, subject to legislative approval. “There is no cookie cutter,” Mr. Cuomo said at a news conference. “Some may decide that they need to increase tuition; some may decide they don’t. We’re trying to flip the model.” Under the new model, he said, “we’re not going to tell you what to do.”
(Businessweek) — Anyone who has shopped around for a college business program has confronted the harsh calculus that rules any financial cost-benefit analysis. Elite private programs cost more, but frequently deliver better career outcomes. State schools cost less, but you may end up getting shortchanged on jobs. Nowhere is this clearer than in Bloomberg Businessweek‘s latest analysis of tuition costs and starting salaries for the magazine’s 113 ranked undergraduate business programs. Annual costs for state schools on the list average less than a third of those for private schools—$10,495 vs. $35,408. At the same time, the median starting salaries for public and private schools differ by $4,590, or 9 percent—$46,461 for public schools, $51,051 for private schools. The result: In our analysis of starting salaries earned per annual tuition dollar spent, the state schools fare much better, averaging $4.97 vs. $1.64 for the private schools.
(Wall Street Journal) — Before sending her daughter off to college in Virginia, Sharon Pohlmann knew she’d have to budget for flights between Columbus, Ohio, and Richmond. But the $60 taxi rides to and from the airport were an unavoidable surprise. Her daughter would wear a University of Richmond sweatshirt on the plane in hopes of finding someone to split the cost of a taxi ride back to school, Ms. Pohlmann says. It worked sometimes. Her annual college-related travel expenses: about $1,600, $400 of it for cab fare. When it comes to paying for college, tuition and room and board are just the beginning. To set a realistic budget, parents need to account for a host of miscellaneous expenses — and leave some room for the unexpected. There’s travel, transportation, supplies beyond books and lab fees, parking permits, laundry and midnight food runs, just to name a few. You can easily expect to spend an additional 5% to 10% of the college sticker price a year, experts say.