College costs are on the rise. Average costs for tuition,
fees, room and board at public and private colleges averaged
$17,860 and $39,518 respectively per year in 2012. This is an
increase of 124 percent and 138 percent respectively from 1972
But is college still worth it? Absolutely! With college
graduates earning on average $3 million more than non-graduates
over their lifetime, college is an investment that has a great
So how can you make the most of your children's
educational investment while managing the costs?
1 Save early. A family saving
$1,000 per year from ages 10-18 and earning 7 percent APR on their
investments will have $11,000 at enrollment. Starting at birth
instead would result in $36,000.
2 Consider costs.
Think carefully about the costs of each college. For some students,
community colleges, which average $2,690 in tuition and fees, can
be a fantastic bargain to start.
3 Build a budget.
The number one reason for college dropout is financial pressure.
Visit the resource page at econcouncil.org to create a customized
budget with your student.
4 Do your
homework. Visit fafsa.ed.gov or knowhow2go.org early to be
Tracy Frizzell, Economic Awareness
Council - Young Illinois Saves
College is a strong investment in your
future, but with the rising costs of college, how can the
average Illinois family afford it?
Illinois residents have a valuable financial aid resource
based right here. The Illinois Student Assistance Commission is
dedicated to giving Illinois residents every opportunity to pursue
a post-secondary degree. ISAC administers more than $370 million
need-based grants and scholarships and provides one-on-one guidance
for students and their families.
To get started, make sure to explore the various career
paths on whatsnextillinois.org and visit isac.org to connect with
one of the ISACorps members who will provide free assistance in
applying for student financial aid and navigating the college-going
As students are deciding on which college to attend, they
should examine their award letters closely.
1 Grants and scholarships.
Determine if they are renewable or a one-time award. If renewable,
make sure to know what the requirements are for each year.
2 Student loans. Student loans can
be awarded from different sources and have different interest
rates, repayment schedules and amount limits. Read and understand
the details of each student loan before accepting it.
3 Out-of-pocket cost. Determine
what will be the total out-of-pocket cost after completing the
whole program, not just part of it.
Abel Montoya, Illinois Student Assistance
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