Albany- The cost of higher education doesn't come cheap. Over the last five years, tuition at colleges and universities has increased by 40 percent. This year alone in Georgia, tuition increased at state colleges and universities an average of five percent, that's 37 dollars a semester at two year schools and 58 dollars per semester at four year schools, a cost that can add up.
Students at Darton College are lucky, tuition at two year colleges has only increased 19 percent in the last five years compared to 40 percent at four year schools.
"I just keep hearing people talk about how tuition is going up and how books are very expensive," said Artavius West of Albany. Universities blame the increase on cuts in state funding for higher education.
"When the budget gets tight, the state legislature and that's not just Georgia that's across the country, will cut back budgets for universities so that is what happens tuition goes up." Caroline Fielding, Darton College.
It's increasing enrollment at schools like Darton where students can get a two year degree and go to work or save half of what they would spend at a four year school and transfer.
"It's close to home and plus it's one of the lower costing tuition schools in Georgia," said West. Books cost $400, tuition cost $600, the cost of a higher education is priceless, and some students are getting creative to get out of school without debt.
"If I stayed at home for like maybe two years and saved my money up, then if I decide to leave and go off to college I would have money in my banking account," said Carla McKibben of Albany.
Nearly 80 percent of students have part time jobs and count on maintaining their grades to keep their Hope scholarships. Some like Carla, a pre-med student, have sought out grants like the National Health Corps. to help pay the bills.
"They give you grants to help you through school so, they're going to pay off all my, if you do need to take out loans, they'll pay off all my loans and housing and stuff," said McKibben.
With more students forced to take out loans, any help is welcome.
"Student loans are becoming much more prevalent just for the average person to get through school it's either that or don't go to college and I think people realize the value of college these days," said Fielding.
Tuition costs have increased the most just in the last three years. Many areas of the country have seen double digit increases in 2003, 2004, and 2005.
Many states including Georgia offer prepay programs for parents, such as the Georgia Higher Education Savings Plan. Those programs allow you to buy a higher education at today's prices for a students who will got to college in the future.