The cost of college has skyrocketed over the past 20 years, threatening to put higher education out of reach for many young people. In-state tuition at a four-year public college currently averages $9,100 per year. That figure is $31,000 for a private four-year school. Given that level of investment, prospective students and their parents must do a great deal of due diligence. First, come up with an honest answer to whether your child really needs to attend a four-year college to have a rewarding and well-paying career. Many such fields require only a two-year degree or technical certificate.
If college is part of the plan, make your choice based largely on rate-of-return. Is it really necessary to attend the more-expensive parental alma mater, or the pricey school that always makes the Elite Eight? Many low-profile, affordable colleges turn out highly employable graduates.
Help offset the cost of college by pursuing as many scholarships as possible. Some $3 billion in private scholarship money is given out every year. These scholarships are often available based on a student’s financial need, field of study or background. During the college application process, high school students should also apply for every grant or scholarship that relates to them. Career centers often have long lists of available funding. While many of these grants might be for just $500 or $1,000, there is no limit to how many a young person can be awarded, and the money adds up.