As most high school seniors will come to realize, life is all about making investments. Whether it is buying a stock, investing in a company, purchasing a starter home or opening up a business, everyone at some point will have to organize their assets.
However, one of the most overlooked investments is gaining a higher education after high school.
An investment has many costs added into it, generally requiring an upfront payment
Depending on where a student plans on attending college determines the varying tuition costs that a student may have to pay. Websites for state schools such as Millersville, East Stroudsburg or Indiana University of Pennsylvania state that costs range from $8,000 to $10,200. Those price tags do not include the cost of room and board,that can tack on an additional $7,000 to $9,000.
Private colleges, such as locally located York College to Drexel University can range from $15,000 to $50,000, according to the numbers on their websites.
Public universities tend to be cheaper than private colleges because public universities are partly funded by the state, whereas private colleges rely on tuition in order to make a profit.
When it comes to paying for college, the first step is to fill out a FAFSA form (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). By completing the form, a student can find out how much he/she qualifies for financial aid.
Even if you know your parents make too much money to qualify, it is still worth applying. You can still earn money if you are a minority, are a first generation college student, or one of your parents is on disability or is laid off.
In addition to financial aid, many students hope for scholarships from the college or from an outside source. A scholarship doesn’t exactly mean that a student has to be a scholar, be as it may seem.
There are thousands of different types of scholarships, some for being a race or religious minority, for what elementary school you went to or simply for what your gender is.
Taking the time and effort to research what is available is worthwhile, along with networking within your local community.
Many local businesses and organizations, such as the Rotary Club, offer free money to college bound seniors. The actual payout may only be $500, but every bit counts.
If you’ve applied to every scholarship and grant under the sun and you are still short a couple thousand or even most of the tuition, student loans may be the last option, however not a last resort.
According to the American Student Assistance statistics, every year 12 million out of the 20 million that attend college take out student loans, so it is a popular form of payment.
As soon as a student hears the words “student loans”, panic automatically settles in. Debt is a big fear for anyone fresh out of college looking for a job or an internship.
However, the bills don’t start arriving for at least 6 months after graduation.
The cost of college should not be a venue for turning away students, however the high costs should be taken into consideration.
Sitting down with your parents, especially if they have gone to college and are in your shoes, can help you and your whole family get on the same page.
College is a huge risk, but the return on your investment (ie the job of your dreams) will make the whole hassle worth it.