The rising costs of college tuition - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

The rising costs of college tuition

February 21, 2006

Albany--You know college is expensive, and it's not getting any cheaper. If costs continue to go up at the current rate, today's kindergartners may need more than a $100,000 dollars for a four-year degree. And that's for an in-state public college.

Looking for the cash to attend college isn't easy. Students at a financial aid workshop at Dougherty Comprehensive High School know that all too well. "It is extremely stressful," says high school senior, Sidena Smith.

Smith hopes to attend Valdosta State in the fall and is doing all she can to find the money she needs. "You know, hunting down people I know who work at Merck, you know Wal-mart, Coca-cola" says Smith.

Popular web sites like Fastweb.com and Scholarships.com are common sites Sidena uses to look for ways to pay for college. "I've been looking up scholarships on the Internet like a mad woman," says Smith.

The nationwide average to attend an in-state public college for four years is about $67,000. Financial advisors say you shouldn't let that figure scare you. "You'll never know what you'll be eligible for until you complete the financial form application," says Albany State financial advisor, Derita Hall.

That form is the FAFSA form. It determines a student's eligibility for grants, loans, and work study programs.

"If you don't have the FAFSA form, it's going to be difficult to go to college," says Smith.

Students can apply for financial aid through the FAFSA form starting in January. While the deadline is April 15th, the sooner you apply the better.

"The students that apply early are the ones that get the funds. Once those funds run out, there's no other funds to get," says Hall.

And Sidena isn't wasting any time. "They have to get up on it," says Smith.

While the opportunity to attend college is there, students know that can't get that opportunity without going after it.

A state web site called "Georgia College 411" helped more than 60,000 Georgia students prepare for college in its first year. You can visit it at: WWW.GAcollege411.org

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