We believe that scholarships have

become so essential to the majority

of students who want to graduate with

a college degree—and that scholarships

can be vital to post-college success.


1. College costs a lot more than it used to. According to a 2010 Trends in College Pricing report by
College Board, since the year 2000, public four-year tuition and fees have increased more than 5 percent
annually above inflation. Tuition at public two-year colleges and private four-year colleges also increased
by 3 percent above inflation.


2. The economy stinks, and parents have no money. Well, hopefully that’s not 100 percent accurate,
but there’s definitely some truth to that statement. While parents still very much value contributing to their
children’s college tuition, the amount that families can afford to contribute has declined. A study commissioned
by lender Sallie Mae and conducted by Gallup found that the number of families who planned to cover few if any
college costs had risen while the number of parents expecting to cover more than half of the costs had dropped.
A similar survey conducted by Longmire and Company, a higher-ed consulting firm, found that 33 percent—
the largest percentage of parents—said they planned on contributing less than $5,000 to their child’s college tuition,
barely enough to cover four years of textbooks.


3. The cost of college living is up. Unless you plan on living at home and commuting to school—a very
good option for a lot of college students—plan on paying a lot more than your older brother or sister paid for
your apartment, food, books and supplies. All of these things have gotten more expensive.

4. State support for students has decreased substantially. Although it looks like America may have
weathered the worst of the recession (let’s hope), many states are still reeling from the economic slump and
most have made large cuts in public service funding—including higher education. As a result, public colleges
and universities have increased tuition, meaning you’re probably going to pay more now.

5. People owe a lot of money. One quarter of the U.S. population—70 million people—owe a collective
$700 billion in student loan debt. Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? It is. According to the Institute for College
Access and Success, the average college graduate has acquired $24,000 in student loans by the time they
graduate, and that figure is likely to increase. Experts say this may be the next financial bubble to burst.
[Read more about the higher education bubble.] The cost of attending college may seem daunting, but that’s
exactly why finding, applying for, and receiving scholarships are essential to ensure that you won’t struggle to
make huge student loan payments upon graduation. Scholarships are no longer just a bonus. They’re crucial for
bridging the gap between the increasing cost of tuition and what you and your family can afford to pay out of pocket.

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