01 Dec

What You Can Do With College Costs Up, Financial Aid Down

More tough news for parents of current or soon-to-be college students: even with the economic downturn, college tuition and fees are still going up and up. The results of the latest College Board survey are in, and it could mean added financial stress for many families.

Cost Up, Aid Down

I’ll break the bad news first (don’t we always want to get that out of the way?), but don’t worry–there is good news to follow.

First of all, it seems that both public and private college costs are continuing the steep upward trend we’ve been seeing for far too long. According to the College Board’s yearly survey of college costs, public 4-year schools tuition has increased by about 6% to an average $7,020, while private 4-year college tuition has gone up approximately 4% to $26,273.

Of course, the rising prices aren’t the only problem–CNN reports that families are also struggling with decreasing amounts of aid. As families grapple with the financial struggles of the current economy, college grant funds have failed to increase equally to tuition increases–which translates to families having a larger out-of-pocket cost than ever.

Two to One

One piece of good news–at least for some students–is that reportedly two-thirds of students attending college this year received aid in the form of grants or scholarships that do not have to be repaid. CNN estimates that these students are paying only about $11,900 out of pocket for private college tuition and $1,600 out of pocket for tuition at a 4-year public. Of course, that leaves an entire one-third who are paying full price, either out of their own pockets or borrowing funds.

Unfortunately, the numbers above only reflect tuition costs. Students also have to find ways to pay for room and board, transportation, books and supplies and other day to day expenses.

What You Can Do

With costs up and aid down, more and more students are turning to borrowing as their first solution to the problem, but student loans should be the last choice. After all, starting off out on your own is hard enough without the stress of loan payments hanging over you!

Now is the time to step forward and really search for ways to cut your college costs. I work with my client families every day to help discover creative ways to reduce the out-of-pocket costs for college.

Here’s where you should start:

  • Learn how to get a tuition discount, and do everything you can to make that happen.
  • Spend time doing scholarship searches (see my tips here) and encourage your child to spend time applying for scholarships. The rewards can be great!
  • Look for ways to find money for college in your day-to-day spending.
  • Learn about college tax credits and use them!
  • Fill out the FAFSA yearly to give your child the opportunity to potentially win grant money from the government and/or college and to make federal loans available to your family.
  • Get assistance from a professional college planner that can help you identify dozens of additional strategies that apply to your particular family and may reduce your costs by thousands of additional dollars.

Even in the toughest of times, a little ingenuity can take you far. Good luck–I know you can do it.

All the best,
Deborah Fox


Add to Del.cio.us RSS Feed Add to Technorati Favorites Stumble It! Digg It!

Leave a Reply

© 2007-2010 Fox College FundingĀ® | Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS)

Securities offered through Securities America Inc., a Registered Broker/Dealer, Member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Securities America Advisors, a SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Fox College Funding and Securities America are unaffiliated.

GPS Reviews and news from GPS Gazettewordpress logo