The price tag on a college education is steadily rising, and college tuition and student loan debt are higher than they’ve ever been.
Tuition in the United States has been climbing up by about 6 percent every year, averaging about $42,400 a year at a private college and $18,900 at a public college.
According to an article by Business Insider, college is expensive for many reasons, including a lack of state funding, increases in financial aid, ballooning student services, and a surge in overall demand. In five years, tuition averages are projected to land at $56,700 for private institutions and $25,300 at public colleges. If tuition continues to climb at this rate, tuition will be at about $120,000 when today’s babies are college-age.
Navigating these numbers can be extremely intimidating and discouraging, leaving many students wondering if college is truly worth it. However, there are definitely options to pursue a more affordable path without having to give up on a college education.
Here are a few tips to remember when determining what college is the best fit for you financially.
1) Use Cost Planning Tools for College Tuition
Web tools like Tuition Tracker are designed to help you find a college that’s compatible with your budget, desired location, and size. The website also serves as a resource to explore trends in financial aid, tuition, and student outcomes among colleges over the last decade, along with graduation rates by race and ethnicity, retention race and enrollment demographics.
Big Future on collegeboard.org offers a financial aid calculator along with resources like scholarship search assistance, financial aid applications, and a college savings calculator among many more.
2) Consider State and Community Colleges
In-state tuition is drastically cheaper than out-of-state tuition. Research the colleges in your area to see if they offer the programs you’re interested in. If staying in the state isn’t your ideal route, it’s still way cheaper to at least get your generals done at a community college before switching over to a private one.
3) Find College Tuition Reductions
There are part-time jobs available to students that offer tuition reimbursement or scholarships.
Companies like Starbucks, for example, offers eligible employees the Starbucks College Achievement Plan in partnership with Arizona State University (ASU). Those who work an average of 20 hours per week and are wanting to earn a bachelor’s degree have the opportunity to gain one--with full tuition coverage--through ASU’s top-ranked online degree program.
Bank of America associates who’ve been employed for at least six months and work 20 hours a week (minimum) are eligible to receive tuition repayment through Bank of America.
You can also apply for federal pell grants or state grants depending on your eligibility. Pell grant funds can be used for tuition and fees, room and board, books, supplies, transport, and more. Most colleges also offer private scholarships you may be eligible for, too!
4) Join dreamOway!
The most enriching part of any college experience is joining a supportive and empowering network and community. dreamOway is a social crowdfunding app that connects you with donors who can provide you with the support and funding you need to make your college dreams attainable.
The app provides you the ability to share on multiple platforms to gain support and the easy ability to update your followers throughout your college journey.