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Tuition’s critical condition

By Hye-Jung Yang
Published: September 2008

With the rising college costs, tuition is becoming less and less affordable for students.

According to the College Board, the average cost of tuition for private, four-year colleges in 2007-2008 was $23,712, 6.3 percent higher than that of the previous academic year.

Most colleges offer different forms of financial aid to help students compromise the costs. Students can apply for scholarships, loans, or work study by filling out financial aid forms and sending them to colleges to which they are applying.

According to Newton South college counselor Barbara Brown, colleges send students financial aid packages for scholarships, loans, or work study based on their needs for assistance.

Scholarships are convenient because they allow students to attend college without needing to pay back the money after they graduate.

Loans are less forgiving, however, because students must pay back their loans.

According to Brown, “It’s almost inevitable these days [to get loans], given the rising cost of tuition. Most students graduate with some debt.

Another option is work study, which gives students the opportunity to work on campus in exchange for a reduction of the tuition that they have to pay.

Some students do not receive enough financial aid from colleges, however, especially middle class students whose families have a high enough income that they cannot qualify for enough aid as they would like to pay for college comfortably.

“They can apply for all private and local scholarships. They are eligible for loans, but I know that there is a lot of anxiety to get enough, Brown said.

In addition to the financial aid that colleges give out, there are also private and local scholarships that students can apply for to receive additional aid. “There are local scholarships that are given through Newton South¦[which] typically gives over 135,000 per year in financial aid to students, said Brown, “[Local scholarships] are also given through organizations that [students] can apply for.

For the students who find affording college to be difficult even after receiving financial aid, Massachusetts state schools provide a lower cost alternative to private schools.

Ultimately, some students must make the decision about which college they will attend based on the amount of financial aid support each college offers.

“With U Mass Amherst and NYU, there is a huge difference in cost, said Brown, “Students really have to think.

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