April 2, 2010
Education and Responsibility
If you’ve been tuning in to higher education news, you may have seen this article in the Salt Lake Tribune. The bottom line is, tuition rates at public colleges and universities in Utah are going to rise for next year. The good news is that Utah students aren’t going to be hit as hard as students from other states. While California’s Board of Regents approved a 32% increase in tuition, Utah’s Board of Regents has approved a 6% – 12.5% increase. Even with this increase, Utah schools are still generally much more affordable than other states’ public universities and colleges.
I think many people will agree that nobody wants to see tuition raises outpacing inflation, and that it’s an extra difficulty for students who are already feeling the sting of state budget cuts. But until we, as a nation, get that matter resolved (shouldn’t take more than an hour or two, right?), there are some thing you can do in the meantime.
- Start saving. You can open a regular bank savings account, go to your local credit union, or choose a 529 college savings plan like the one offered right here in Utah by UESP. The earlier you can start saving for education, the better off you will be.
- Look for scholarships. Do this early! There are some scholarships that students can win before senior year in high school, and many, many more that can be applied for during a student’s senior year. You can search for many scholarships online at UtahFutures.
- Be prepared to fill out the FAFSA. This single federal form is your ticket to qualifying for grants (which do not have to be repaid), work-study programs, and student loans.
- Communicate. Talk to high school counselors. Talk to college financial aid officers. Whatever you do, don’t be afraid to ask for help. It can be a really confusing and intimidating process-these people are here to help you make sense of it all.
- Get a job. A part-time job, while perhaps not the first thing many students think of, is a really good idea. If you can work the summer before you go to college and save up money, you’ll probably be able to cover the cost of your textbooks at least! Working up to 20 hours a week during school is an option through work-study programs (don’t forget that you must fill out the FAFSA to qualify for this), and a great way to get hands-on experience.
While it may not make us all happy (I’m sure not thrilled that my tuition for the University of Utah is going up next year), we have a choice to make: pursue education despite the obstacles, or give up. I will be setting aside a little more in savings over the summer to prepare for next year, because I want to finish my degree. What do you want to do?Posted by: Sumiko