Today in the United States, total student loan debt tops $1 trillion. With the cost of a four-year college degree much higher than the average salary in the United States, many families wonder if college is even worth the cost.
A recent New York Times article tells us college tuition in the United States has risen almost 1,200 percent in the last 35 years, which is drastically higher than the percentage of inflation.
And, it’s not just tuition that’s costing students more in today’s world. A recent Huffington Post article discussed how college textbook prices are rising faster than both tuition and inflation. University of Michigan-Flint Economics Professor Mark Perry calculated on average, college students in 2014 pay 864 percent more for textbooks than their parents would have in 1978.
In our knowledge-based economy, obtaining a college degree can still be worth the cost. Depending on the situation, not having a college degree could end up costing individuals more in the long run. So how can students and parents afford the cost of higher education? Some popular ways include: grants, scholarships, loans, work-study programs or attending a community college.
Scholarships are the most underutilized source of financial aid for college. Many organizations end up keeping money set aside for scholarships because they don’t receive any applications.
Parents and students should look for scholarships in obscure places because chances are, they’re out there! You can apply for scholarships for almost any reason- being left-handed, making a Duct tape prom dress etc. Poke around the Internet and you’ll be amazed at how many scholarships are out there. The key to getting scholarships for college is to apply, and apply often!
High school students should spend time at their school’s career center to see what scholarships and grants apply to them. Many organizations and companies give grant money to students looking to major in the same field they serve. Prospective college students should also ask different local organizations if they give out college scholarships.
A great example of this is the Community Financial’s Scholarship Program! We give away thousands of dollars in college scholarship money each year to students who embody our “People Helping People” philosophy.
If Federal loans are not enough, or if they are unavailable to cover your educational expenses, a Community Financial Private Student Loan may help fill the void. Our private student loans do not have a need based component so they are open to all members. Learn more by visiting our Private Student Loans page.
Going to college for the first time or deciding to go back to school is a big decision. Let our team members at Community Financial help you make a decision that will help you achieve both your financial and educational goals.