An article recently published in the Sacramento Bee discusses the rising number of college students applying for financial aid. College is expensive, and it’s only getting pricier. A growing number of students are applying for financial aid, including those considered part of the “middle-class” who are ineligible for a variety of financial assistance available to those that fall into the lower-class. This Forbes article about the cost of tuition makes the reason apparent. Tuition prices are increasing more than a the typical family’s income can keep up with.
California’s tuition may be relatively inexpensive compared to other states, but without financial assistance, I would be graduating in the spring with between $30,000-$40,000 in debt. That would only be covering the tuition costs to the CSU that I attend, not the living expenses that I would also accrue during the year. Financial aid was integral in my decision to go to college and further my education.
I’ve personally been involved in programs like Cal-SOAP, working with students and helping them to figure out how to apply for financial aid and making sure that they meet all of their deadlines. Applying for financial aid isn’t hard. Even if a student isn’t eligible for government grants, the student will then be eligible for other kinds of aid from the institute they are applying to, such as scholarships. Every student should fill out their FAFSA by the March 2nd Deadline.
Something that I wish I would have been told in high school was that college also isn’t the only route and financial aid will cover other options like career and technical schools for students interested in pursuing more education but not interested in a 2 or 4 year college. Vocational programs like automotive, beauty school, and culinary programs may be covered by financial aid programs.
Seeing that many colleges solution to the problem of increased tuition hikes has been to increase the number of grants available is excellent in my opinion. Another result could have been a number of students unable to pay for college without taking on a great deal of personal debt, possibly deciding not to pursue higher education at all. Working with students, the concern about being able to pay for college was almost always the biggest amongst students and their families. When I was in high school, I had the same concern. My tuition would have been 1/4 of what my parents made in a year.
Still, even with increase in aid, It seems that there is a much bigger problem with the economy of secondary schooling that needs to be dealt with. The money for aid has to come from somewhere. If both aid and tuition prices continue to raise, I worry that one will eventually outpace the other and I don’t think it will be the amount of aid offered.