The rising cost of higher education

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There are more opportunities to attend college today than ever before, but get- ting an education is also more expensive than in years past. The price tag of college has climbed steadily since the 1980s, as college tuition and fees have increased 1,120 percent since records began in 1978, according to a Bloomberg report.

Students attending local area schools like California State University, Northridge are expected to fork over nearly $7,000 in one semester’s tuition, according to the school’s website, which translates to more than $27,600 over the course of a four-year degree.

The price of tuition at UCs like University California Los Angeles or UC Berkeley are much higher. The cost for one full-time semester at
The Masters University is listed on the college’s website as $12,475. At UCLA, that cost is listed as $13,225 for a semester — which is still a good amount cheaper than its cross-town rival, USC, which lists the cost of a semester at $27,660, for tuition alone.

But tuition and fees comprise only some of the costs to attend college, as these figures don’t take into consideration the money it will take to cover gas, groceries, rent and other living necessities that, when combined,
can add thousands of dollars in cost to the college experience. According to CSUN, students living with their parents will pay $18,400 in one year, while those living on their own off-campus will need an expected $28,500 to cover their transportation, books and other miscellaneous fees.

While money sometimes can be saved on room and board with multigenerational homes and com- muting, one thing is certain: Housing is one of the more expensive costs for college students and their fam- ilies, and that cost is only going up. Nationally, the average cost for room and board during the 2016-2017 school year was $10,440 at four-year public schools and $11,890 at private colleges and universities, according to the College Board.

And those costs typically cover housing for just the school year, which may last anywhere from six to eight months.

As a result, it has become com- mon for some students to take on two or three part-time jobs to make the money needed to receive an education, however when they do, their studies often suffer, according to a CalMatters report, which stated the total cost of college has become untenable.

Debbie Cochrane, vice president of The Institute for College Access and Success, said in the same report that far too many students are struggling to pay non-tuition costs, and are looking for assistance from food pantries and other community assistance programs to help.

Luckily, there are more than a few ways to find financial assistance in the local area.

Scholarships

Every year, the Santa Clarita Valley Scholarship Foundation provides thousands of dollars in scholarships to graduating seniors throughout the Santa Clarita Valley.

Treasurer Terry Kanowsky previously referred to the awards as the best-kept secret in the Santa Clarita Valley.

“We have a lot of students who may not have the highest GPA but they started a business on their own or they had to work full-time to support their family,” Kanorsky said, adding all students are encouraged to apply.

Previous awards ranged from $500 to $5,000 and were awarded based on a combination of factors, including: GPA, personal achievement, financial need, educational goals and volunteer efforts.

The foundation hopes to award scholarship funds totaling anywhere from $10,000 to $12,000 in 2019, according to its website. To apply, applicants are required to: be a resident of the Santa Clarita Valley, have attended a William S. Hart High School District school for two years and maintained at least a 2.0 GPA. Graduating seniors must also remain in compliance with the district’s Student Rights and Responsibilities and submit a 350-word essay.

The Class of 2019 application period has closed, but applications for students graduating in 2020 will become available Dec. 1, 2019 and will continue to be accepted through February 1, 2020, the website states.

Students or parents with ques- tions are encouraged to contact the foundation’s secretary at [email protected] scvsf.org.

Grants

While federal student loans programs, such as the Perkins, Stafford and PLUS loans, offer students the opportunity to pay for their college education, they aren’t always the best option because borrowers must repay the loan and any applicable interest, according to college scholarships.

org. “The Pell Grant, however, stands apart from any federal loan programs in that recipients are not required to repay any of the money they receive.”

The Pell Grant is a government award that requires no repayment — similar to a scholarship — and is usually awarded to undergraduate students who display exceptional financial need, according to the De- partment of Education.

“Award amounts can change yearly,” but the maximum Federal Pell award is around $6,000 for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 award years, according to Federal Student Aid, an office of the U.S. Department of Education. The amount one will receive is dependent on the Expect- ed Family Contribution, the cost of attendance, one’s status as a full-time or part-time student and their plans to attend school for a full academic year or less.

Those interested in discovering if they’re eligible are encouraged to start the process by completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid form, which is otherwise known as the FAFSA.

Students are also encouraged to visit collegescholarships.org/ghave never heard rants/101-grants, where applicants can find 101 grants and scholarships that aren’t as well known.

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