It's all over the news today...
- STUDENT DEBT OUT OF CONTROL
- IS COLLEGE EVEN WORTH IT ANYMORE?
- THE SKY IS FALLING!!
But is all this bad news actually true?
Not really, says Victoria Fleisner, assistant director of Undergraduate Admissions at Robert Morris University (RMU) in Pittsburgh.
"It's all about making good choices," says Fleisner, "both while you're still in high school and then when you actually begin your college career."
Fleisner, who completed RMU's College Affordability Academy™, a training initiative for admissions counselors, financial aid officers, faculty mentors, and student support staff to make the college financing system as transparent as possible for prospective students, says that, although college is expensive, there are plenty of ways to keep your student debt manageable.
Says Fleisner, "There definitely are things you need to consider, beginning with your junior year in high school, that can help you keep college costs down and help you avoid unneccessary debt after you earn your degree."
For example, if you're a junior in high school, things like maintaining a good GPA, taking AP classes, and taking the SAT more than once can get you off on the right foot. Then, in your senior year, you can continue the momentum by submitting your applications on time, using online tuition calculators to estimate potential costs, filing for federal aid, and applying for scholarships.
Once you're in college, you can save money by participating in your school's textbook loan program, earning extra cash thorugh a work study position, and maintaining your scholarships by studying hard and keeping your grades up. You can also work with your financial aid counselors to map out a plan that best fits your particular situation. Some schools even offer integrated bachelor's/master's programs so you can earn two degrees in just five years, saving you time and money.
So, as you can see, it's not all doom and gloom. As long as you have a plan, make smart decisions beginning in your junior year of high school, and then take advantage of money-saving opportunities while you're in college, you can keep your student debt at a manageable level and then graduate positioned for success. ~