The majority of US parents expect their children to attend college, but most neglect to budget for the costs associated with higher education, national survey data shows.
“Despite the wide array of approaches families might take to build a plan to pay for college, most don’t have a plan,” according to this year’sHow America Pays for College study. “Although nearly nine in 10 families have anticipated their child’s college attendance since preschool, fewer than half that many agree they had a plan to pay for all years of college before the student enrolled.”
California residents can now go to community college for free.
Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill in early October that gives students one year of free tuition at any of state’s 114 community colleges, as long as they are California residents and new students enrolling full-time, CNN reported.
This new legislation expands on what California already offered. Community colleges in the state currently charge residents $46 per credit — amounting to a cost of roughly $1,100 a year for students who enroll full-time.
What if America’s private colleges could stop their annual increases in tuition or even drop their prices down?
The National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) has an idea it says would do just that.
NAICU has recommended that Congress give private, nonprofit colleges a temporary anti-trust exemption for the purposes of promoting affordability.
Current laws ban discussion about prices and discounts — including student aid — among competitors in any industry. NAICU says that this has led to a vicious cycle of ongoing tuition inflation and has forced private colleges to offer larger and larger discounts on the sticker price to stay competitive.
They believe that if schools could talk to one another, they could end this cycle and start targeting financial aid to the students who need it most. The thinking is that if everyone made the decision to collectively lower tuition, then no college would feel like it “lost” because it wasn’t offering the huge discounts that are currently available to counter price inflation.
Money talks. It’s an old adage, but it rings true even when it comes to college graduation rates.
A new study from Oregon State University found that both the socioeconomic status of a college’s student body and the school’s own revenue and expenditures are significant predictors in whether first-time students will complete their degree and graduate within six years.
Researchers focused solely on four-year broad access institutions, which are colleges and universities that accept 80 percent or more of their applicants.
“For those students, resources really matter, in a way that is different from the population as a whole,” Gloria Crisp, the study’s lead author, said. “That finding is consistent with the persistent inequities in college completion rates for these underserved populations.”
Women hold more student debt and take longer than men to pay it off, according to a recent report from the American Association of University Women.
“It’s encouraging that women are enrolling in college more than ever before, but at the same time they are taking on larger amounts of debt to pay for their dreams,” AAUW researcher Kevin Miller said in a press release. “Because of factors like the gender pay gap, debt that could be manageable ends up becoming unmanageable, particularly for women.”
Women now earn 57 percent of all bachelor’s degrees awarded by US colleges, but hold almost two-thirds of the country’s $1.3 trillion student debt.
Many of us working with students in the college search and selection process struggle to help families understand college affordability. While most students will not pay the full cost of attendance, many will use sticker price to eliminate colleges from their list before they have the chance to weigh financial aid packages and scholarship offers.
What are best practices in talking to students and families about financial aid, student debt, and fit and finances? How do we best explain longer-term benefits beyond financial gain, inherent in the value of higher education, to high school juniors and seniors? How do we address the value of borrowing for college?