Back to School-How to Pay for Higher Education

Harvard University

It's time to go back to school! I love this time in the fall, with the trees just starting to turn, and the yellow school buses on the road. It's a nostalgic time for me--I often wish I was going back to school! (I'm probably the only one!) One thing, though, for high school seniors today, one of the major, major worries is not only getting good enough grades to qualify for some higher education, but--how to pay for it?

How to pay for school?

It's increasingly worrisome, not only for the high school seniors, but for their parents, as well. The rising cost of college is making higher education out of the reach of the middle class, here in America. It can cost $40,000 in tuition and fees, or MORE ! for the first year at a community college !

That simply outrageous, $80,000 and over, for two years at a community college, which may qualify you for a $30,000 to $40,000/year job, if you are lucky. You start out so deeply in debt that it takes oh, about fifteen years, before you've even started to break even.

How to pay for school?? Is it even worth it?

The bleak fact of the matter is, in the technologically advance society we live in, and in a business climate that's declining, there is very little room for jobs with no skills. So, some form of higher education seems to be a must for most people. It is a very rare instance, these days, to find a self-made man or woman, who can succeed in America's business environment with no higher education whatsoever. It is also common to find people who have made the investment of time and money in several years of higher education, and still have trouble getting a decent-paying job in their fields, right away, and are already over their heads in debt.

What's the answer? How to pay for school?

I have inserted several links to websites above that can help to find resources for college funding. They are all legitimate, and they are all free.

I'm not including any more particular information in this hub, because what's available depends on four factors, which vary with the individual:

  • What is your or your parents' income level? The answer to this question qualifies you (or disqualifies you) for several basic Federal grants, including the Pell grant. Lower income levels qualify for more assistance.
  • What is your major? The answer to this question qualifies you (or disqualifies you) for several opportunities for scholarships. Some hot scholarship fields at the present time include (but are not limited to): education, nursing, and environmental studies.
  • What college to you want to attend? The more expensive private schools do help deserving students who have excellent grades and have performed well on the SAT's but even with half the costs covered, you may find the total bill to be prohibitive. However, those degrees are worth a lot more in the job market when you do graduate. They are tough schools, you really have to work to stay even, even though you were the star scholar of your local high school.
  • Are you outstanding either as a scholar or in a particular sport? There are scholarships available for both.  Your SAT scores MATTER !!!!  Really MATTER !!!  Start preparing for your SAT's NOW !  There are several study guides and much online help; there is something similar to Cliff Notes for preparing for your SAT's at your local bookstore.  The better you do on your SAT's (Scholastic Aptitude Test) the better the chances you have, not only for admission to college, but financial help.

One thing I most desperately urge the high school senior--get started NOW ! Start looking for ways to pay for school, start thinking about what college you want to attend and what to major in, and then--do the research!! Find out what's available! And start working on it NOW !

It can take up to eight months to be awarded a scholarship. Get familiar with the process. Trim your goals according to what's available. And please--start thinking about this NOW !

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Comments 20 comments

Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 3 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Great. I'm really very glad to hear that.


KickStart1 profile image

KickStart1 3 years ago from San Francisco, California

Thanks for the information ... I went onto www.searchbydegree.com and found it to be a really great resource! I actually found a great college with everything that I needed.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you for your very kind comment, Maita.


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

Hi Paradise7, very helpful hub and your effort will be used by those who believe in the value of education and want to pursue more education, Thanks for this one, Maita


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

I do, too, Sweetie Pie, so long as they are ACADEMICALLY qualified.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 6 years ago from Southern California, USA

I believe higher education so be free for anyone that is interested in pursuing it. Maybe someday, but I will not hold my breath!


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Stephhicks68, you are welcome. And you are so right to start thinking about it now! The kids have to take some of the weight, you know.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

I'm already panicking wondering about getting my 4 kids through college. Oldest is going into 7th grade and tuition keeps going up and up.... Great article with helpful tips. Thumbs up


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

You are right, Carolina. Education isn't like lettuce or Diet Pepsi, or something. Thank you for the compliment! (Blush!)


carolina muscle profile image

carolina muscle 6 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

I'm not sure a commodity like education should be bought and sold at all.

Great post.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

It iIS ridiculous!!! How do they expect kids, or their parents, to pay these outrageous sums in this business climate, I don't know...

Regulation?? Supply and demand should be self-regulating to some degree, and it would be, were it not for loans.


carolina muscle profile image

carolina muscle 6 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

It's certainly a rough environment for getting an education.. it's gotten ridiculously expensive, to the point where I believe there should be regulation.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you, Red Elf, A. Kirchner, and Mike, for your comments. I checked out the links, myself, Elf, to make sure they were all legitimate.

A.K.--you know, you're probably right. It depends on your location to some extent, but I'm sure I estimated low rather than high.

Mike--I'd never discourage anyone from pursuing a higher education, because it's worth it in so many more ways than just getting a job after. I DID want to point out the practicalities, especially for high-schoolers who may very well have a rude awakening once high school is over. If they start getting prepared now, they are ahead of the game, so if anyone wants to forward this hub to someone in high school, please feel free.

I care so much about the kids these days. I don't know what my life would be like if I had the challenge of trying to cover the cost of higher education in today's environment. I don't know what I'd do for a job WITHOUT college, if I was a young adult these days.

The people in high school right now, and the high school seniors, are our future. I wish to help, so much!


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA

When I was a student, grants supplemented my college expenses. Of course now textbooks cost more than tuition did back then, so I guess it's all relative. You pointed out the problems with a college degree--heavy debt and still slim chances of finding a good job. You are correct in stating that few opportunities seem to exist any longer for someone without a college degree, so in some ways there is little choice. The information you provide here should certainly be helpful for many, and hopefully readers will take advantage of it and check out the links.

Mike


akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon

I think that might even be a low estimate to be honest on the tuition because our kids have been out of college now a few years and it was that then! Even our daughter, who went to culinary school year round ended up paying that much per year. It really is insane how much it costs but a wealth of information on how to get it done!


RedElf profile image

RedElf 6 years ago from Canada

Great information - followed some of the links, and they are SO useful! You have done an amazing job of pulling together all this info!


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Oh, thanks so much for that comment, Green Lotus. You are SO RIGHT!!! The sub-message to this hub is that kids these days CANNOT depend on their parents to pay their way through college. It just isn't feasible. So the high-schooler cannot start getting prepared for the future soon enough!


Green Lotus profile image

Green Lotus 6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

Great hub paradise! College tuition is obscene. Even if parents started a college savings account back in 90's hoping it would "grow", soon discovered that inflation and rising tuition costs outwitted even the most diligent savers.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thanks, Cheaptrick. Dean, I hope the kids realize their parents can no longer pay for the ride through college, at least not the whole of it. The parents are on shaky financial ground right now, a lot of 'em.

When I went to a state university, my tuition, which was paid for by a regents scholarship, was $400 per semester. Those were the days, huh? It seems surreal to me that a community college can ask for, and get, upwards of $20,000 per semester.


cheaptrick profile image

cheaptrick 6 years ago from the bridge of sighs

Hi'a P.I'm amazed at how tuition has increased from when I went to college[with Washington,Franklin,and Jefferson:)].I remember going drink-in with my Philosophy Professor one night and he said this"The most Important thing about Higher education is it teaches you to Think".How true that is huh?I try to do it at least once a month:))

Seriously though,I've talked to some kids about to graduate and they're looking at other country's cause the employment situation is so bad here.Great Hub P,and very useful for motivated kids.You done good!

Dean

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