College CostsIntroductionIt’s no secret that financing a college education is gettingtougher.
College costs have skyrocketed over the past decade or so, and there’sno relief in sight. Average tuition at four-year colleges will increase 7percent this school year, double the rate of inflation. Student aid is notincreasing fast enough to plug the growing gap between tuition and familyfinances. In addition, there is a growing number of older students enteringcollege today. These students have families that they need to support. I know,because I am a family man who has returned to school.
I wish to finish mydegree at the Rochester Institute of Technology. The only problems I face arefinancial in nature. It is with this in mind that I set about this research.
Thenot so simple question: Is financial aid available to older students, and if so,how do they go about obtaining it?The Cost Of EducationThe cost of higher education varies by type of institution.Tuition is highest at private 4-year institutions, and lowest at public 2-yearinstitutions. The private 4-year colleges nearly quadrupled their averagetuition rates between 1975 and 1996. For private 4-year colleges, tuition andfees for the 1995-96 academic year averaged about $15,400, compared with about$5006 at public 4-year colleges. The cost of attending an institution of highereducation includes not only tuition and fees, however, but also books andsupplies, transportation, personal expenses and, sometimes, room and board.Although tuition and fees generally are substantially lower at publicinstitutions than at private ones, the other student costs are about the same.According to MS-Encarta94,”the average cost for tuition, fees, and room andboard for the 1995-96 academic year at private 4-year colleges was about $20,165.At public 4-year colleges the average combined cost was about $9290″ (Encarta94).
The cost of attending RIT is approximately $15700 per year. Thisdoes not include room and board, or books, and supplies . This cost falls inline with the national average. However , according to Rachel Shuman of the RITFinancial Aid Department,”the increase in cost at RIT was 4.8 percent for the1996-97 academic year over the 1995-96 academic year.” This falls 2.
2 percentbelow the national average for 4 year private institutions. Still, $15700 is alot of dollars for an unemployed family man or woman with little or no income.The Cost Of Living FactorThough the Cost Of Living is not directly related to tuition itis still a major player in the decision making process.
Is it possible tomaintain a family financial structure while paying for an education? The cost ofa mortgage, or rent, and other bills that are associated with living adds up tomany thousands of dollars per year. These costs in addition to what the tuition,books, and supplies total are expected, and have to be dealt with.The financial burden alone can seem over-whelming to some. Butlet us consider what the total cost of living and attending a four year privateinstitution are. The Bureau of Census statistics for the County of Monroeindicate “that the approximate average income for a family of four is $50964.The poverty level for a family of four is approximately $15455”. These arestatistics calculated for the 1995 calendar year. No newer statistics wereavailable.
With these statistics in mind we can then determine the financialmodel we must follow. This model will determine what the total yearly outlay afamily of four must shoulder in order to send a person to RIT. The Financial BurdenFirst and foremost a family has to live. The Census dataindicates that the minimum a family must earn is “a poverty level income.” So,let’s assume a family needs $16000 per year for living expenses. The cost ofattending RIT is $15651 per year. Books and supplies are approximately $1200 peryear.
Finally, travel expenses will be approximately $500 per year. I amassuming that one spouse will be working to cover the living expenses. So, I amexcluding medical and dental costs. These costs are partially or fully coveredby an employer. In the event they are not let us include them in the povertyscenario, which basically means the family must pay the costs.The total amount of funds needed are $17700 the first year. Ifyou increase that number by 4.
8% each year thereafter you can come up with theprojected amount for each school year.The $17700 figure remains the obstacle toovercome. This cost has to be