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How To Prepare For School Year 2014-2015 College Costs

books with a mouseWere you aware that college costs rise faster than the inflation rate? The increase of higher education costs rose to 4.8% in 2012 – more than double of the inflation rate that is only around 2%. This is the reason why a lot of students are thinking about skipping a college degree to avoid the inevitable student debt. Some of them opt to go straight to the blue collar workforce that will give them a lower income – but will keep them from the bonds of debt.

As the overall student loan balance rises, you may be wondering about the future of college education. Will it still be worth it to be in debt during the first 10 to 15 years of your work life for a chance to earn more monthly income? Apparently, some colleges want you to think so.

Before we can throw stones at these heartless college institutions for continually raising tuition fees, you need to read the 2012 article from the Associated Press website.

According to the AP Big Story, there are some colleges who have heard the cries of the student population and are willing to provide them with a bit of reprieve. Some of them offer a tuition plan that will freeze their rates for 4 years. These fixed-rate tuition fees will allow families to budget for their student’s school expenses. Others went a step further to offer a lower fee for the school year 2012 to 2013. The total number of colleges who did this in the last school year involved 320 universities and colleges all over the country.

The main benefit of having a fixed tuition is the student gets to analyze and anticipate their overall college costs. By having a figure to target, they will know how much they need to raise to add to their savings. They should be able to decide whether they need to get a student loan or getting a part time job will help pay for the shortage.

The real cost of getting a higher education

Whether you are an incoming college student, coming back for another year or going to a graduate school, the first step to prepare financially is to understand what you are paying for. Do not just accept the amount that the school will give you. It is very important that you do not rely on the myths of college costs and you should scrutinize what you are paying for in school.

But what exactly is the real cost of going to college? More importantly, why does it cost a lot of money to get a higher education?

In 2011, Richard Vedder, a professor of economics in Ohio University and the director of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity released an article through the CNN website. Together with Matthew Denhart, the Center for College Affordability and Productivity administrative director, he discussed various issues that makes college very costly.

The article published through the Edition.CNN.com provides the following insights about college costs.

  • The country’s higher education structure needs a reform to address the rising cost to go to school.

  • Colleges and universities lack the incentive to improve administrative processes to help lower their overhead cost.

  • A college or university president is viewed to be successful if they take care of the needs of the faculty, alumni, trustees and key administrators or politicians. This makes them prioritize earning more off the students through tuition fees than to make sure more students can enter the school.

  • Some of the Ivy League schools are trying to be “selective” to raise their status as providing the best education. They turn away qualified students so their elite status can allow them to raise their tuition fees.

  • Since the faculty is important to the education of the students, schools bribe them with high salaries and low teaching tasks.

  • The alumni that provide the school with some funds are appeased through intercollegiate athletic programs that bring pride and bragging rights for the school. These programs are oftentimes very expensive.

  • The presence of student loans do not help regulate the prices of the schools. Since students can borrow money anyway, there is no need to make schooling more affordable.

  • Students must learn how to measure their chances to earn profit against the tuition they are paying to get that privilege. It has to be measured in accordance with the industry their degree will fit into, the overall job market conditions and the rising cost of living.

  • A more transparent way of college spending must be enforced so schools will be more cautious of how they spend their money.

  • College tuition fees cannot rise faster than the income being offered by the corporate world.

These points help shed light to the many improvements that must be implemented to make college costs more affordable. Obviously, the need to get education is there. We just have to work on reforming the current system.

How to save a couple of hundred a month to help finance college expenses

While there is nothing that we can do at the moment to lower college costs for the next school year, the task is left to the students and their parents to make college more affordable. Here is a video from CNN where Christine Romans provide a helpful advice to keep student loan debt down.

You really have to take seriously the bad effects of student loan debt. You want to make sure that you save up enough money to help finance it. If you are still in high school or you have a child that is about to go to college, you can target to save a couple of hundred dollars every month to add to your college fund. $100 every month will help save you $1,200 a year. $200 will save you $2,400 and so on as so forth.

Here are some tips to help you save up for college costs.

  • Bundle your cellphone plan. Some companies will provide you with an all inclusive plan on your phone that will provide you with unlimited calls, text and even Internet access for only $40. This will save you $60 a month since usual cellphone fees amount to $100 a month. That can save you $720 a year.

  • Let go of your gym membership. The average cost of a membership is $10 a month. Although this is a small amount, it is still $120 a year. You can jog or use the community gym to get in shape.

  • Do your own nails. The average cost of a manicure and pedicure can amount to $25 to $30. If you get one every week, that can cost you $100 to $120 a month. If you learn to do your own nails, you can save up to $1,440 a year.

  • Be cautious about using a card for purchases (even debit or ATM cards). The average charge is $2.60. If you swipe your card once a day, you waste $18.20 a week. That is $72.80 a month. If you use cash instead, you can save up to $873.60 a year.

  • Get rid of the cable. A cable subscription can cost you $100 a month. That is $1,200 a year. If you have an Internet connection, just opt for this and let your cable go.

If you do all of these saving tips, you can slash $362.80 from your bill. That can total to $4,353.60 savings a year. If a parents starts to save for their childs tuition when they start high school, the 4 years before college can help them save up to $17,414.40 before they go to college. With the average student loan amounting to $24,000, you only have a few thousand to finance. The $7,000 can be something that the college student can earn by doing part time jobs.