How the Heck Am I Supposed to Pay for College and Not Go Broke?

Ramie Ruble, Editor-in-Chief

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The main predicament of many seniors at this time in the year is figuring out what they will be doing in their future after graduation.  With many anxious seniors struggling to figure out where they will be attending college next year, a new question arises out of the dust: “how am I supposed to pay for my education?”

The cost of college attendance has been rapidly increasing over the past decade or so.  For a while, during the recession of 2007-2008, federal grants and scholarship packages were increasing as well, but they are not raising fast enough to keep up with the spike in tuition rates.  Federal aid has declined 10% while tuition rates have increased, according to usnews.com (http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2013/10/24/the-rise-in-tuition-is-slowing-but-college-still-costs-more).

This increase in tuition rates causes reason for concern for many families.  Not everyone can afford to pay between $20,000 and $30,000 per year for college.  For this reason, it is very important to apply for scholarships both at the university you will be attending, and any other ones you can find.  Not all colleges give out major scholarships, so applying for every single one you find and qualify for goes a long way to helping pay for an education.  On top of just applying for scholarships, working the summer before, and through college, can help improve your financial standing.

After getting in to college, there is more you can do to save money.  You can make, and stick to, a budget, buy used textbooks, sell stuff you no longer need, try not to drive everywhere to save on gas money, consider a meal plan, use your student ID for discounts and freebies at stores that offer them, look for free things the college offers to students, and, if you are living in an apartment, be smart about your appliance and utility use.  The main point is to do everything you can so to emerge from college with as little student debt as possible.  Eventually, the debt will catch up to you, so why not start paying it off now?

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