College students are paying less for class materials, thanks in part to the success of OpenStax – an organization that provides free textbooks and digital resources.
The nonprofit, started six years ago by Rice University (TX), serves more than 2.2 million students, according to a recent article in Diverse: Issues in Higher Education. Nearly half of all US colleges currently use the service, which offers 29 free textbooks for college and Advanced Placement classes.
And for the first time in five decades, average textbook costs are decreasing, according to recent data analyzed by the National Center of Education Statistics.
Editor’s note: A version of this post was originally published on Admitted in March 2016. It’s being republished as part of NACAC’s Best of the Blog series.
Getting into college is only half the battle for teens living in poverty.
To prove eligibility for financial aid, many colleges ask low-income students to submit a mountain of paperwork — going beyond what is required of their middle- and upper-income peers, NACAC member Joshua Steckel wrote in a 2016 opinion column published by The Boston Globe.
The process is burdensome, he noted. Worst of all, it can discourage talented students from accessing the financial support they need to attend college.
Planning how to finance a four-year degree has become a more prominent part of the college application process.
A new e-learning course from NACAC is now available to help college counselors and admission officers confidently field financial aid questions from families.
More than just a webinar or educational session, the online course—Financial Aid 101— includes eight easy-to-use learning modules packed with information on subjects like loans, grants, scholarships, and work-study. Informative graphics and videos break down key concepts, while quizzes help you measure your progress.
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.”
Planning to work during the school year to help pay for college?
Incoming freshmen should start searching now to increase their odds of landing a great campus job, according to a post on Homeroom — the official blog of the US Department of Education.
“If you’re interested in working part-time while in school, it’s best to start checking out those opportunities early, even before you get to campus or start classes,” notes blog author Susan Thares, who works with the department’s office of Federal Student Aid.