An interesting question is posed at students.maxblog.eu: Is college really too expensive, or is it that people are not aware of all of their financing options? (unfortunately the post that inspired this one is no longer around and that website is for sale)
I think the answer is “Both!”
I work with financial aid, so most every day I am helping students find new ways to get scholarships (Not just on this blog, but I hope that helps too!) The entire process is overwhelming and many new students have no idea how to get started or what they should consider. John (the other one) makes a good point that the school with the lowest sticker price may not even be the best deal. If the “more expensive” school offers more financial aid, it may end up being cheaper in the long run.
Unfortunately, tuition rates are going up faster than inflation and regardless of financial aid, paying for school is getting more difficult every year.
Even if the student does everything expected of him/her, the Roosevelt Institution adds another perspective on the FAFSA: Its just plain broken. While applauding the recent legislative changes that will increase federal financial aid, Zach points out that the process is tedious and families are often left wondering what assistance they are eligible for until the last minute.
At PheistyBlog, the author offers another completely different idea: Skip school altogether! This won’t work for everyone, obviously, but the author does make a point to demonstrate careers that are in high demand but don’t necessarily require a degree. If you already have a few years of work experience in the field you’re interested in and there’s a certificate program or quick training class, why not skip extra years of general education and focus on your skill or trade? The important thing is to find out what’s right for you, and not assume there is a “best path.”
But if you do decide to pursue college, make sure you’re ready to put significant effort into finding sources of funding.