College tuition. For some, it’s just a number highlighted in brochures, but for many families in the nation, it is one of the most nerve-racking topics in conversation. What makes this topic such a concerning issue is the uncertainty of affording the education. Parents are perplexed by harsh situations which rise from an inability to meet the financial requirements for schools.
All of these tense circumstances certainly arise with justification. According to the online financial database, Inflation Data, “The average cost of college tuition has risen 498.49 percent since 1985.” Unfortunately, these numbers are far from an exaggeration. In fact, other studies, such as those conducted by the Huffington Post, have reported “The cost of a college degree in the U.S has increased 1,120 percent in 30 years.” While these numbers are staggeringly high and continue to rise, alternate financial options are certainly available. These aids largely rest in one place: scholarships. Students should cast a wide net and try to take advantage of these largely untapped resources.
“The range of scholarships are broad and include various topics and interests,” College Career Center coordinator, Kristni Joseph said. “Some criteria are based religion, culture, community service, or ethnicity, while others are geared towards majors and academics. There are also many talent based scholarships that involve music and the arts.”
These scholarships encompass a broad range of interests and topics, beyond the usual sport and grade- based scholarships. Many financial aid packages allow for students of all interests and backgrounds to earn money to for their tuition.
According to Fastweb, a website which aims to set up students with available scholarship money, “Of full-time students enrolled at four-year colleges, 13.8 percent of middle-income students won scholarships, compared with 10.6 percent of low-income students.” Applying for need-based scholarships are the quickest and most direct way for families to access funds for college. Most significantly, need-based scholarship funds serve as cash grants, and thus are not borrowed money. The money students receive is directly used in paying for tuition and never has to be repaid.
“Using scholarships as a supplement to financial aid is a great way for students to limit loan amounts and provide for college costs,” Joseph said.
Scholarships are available for students with almost any interest, and are feasibly accessible to the average American family. Unfortunately, most students fail to recognize this. Today, accessing these scholarships as LAHS students has never been easier. The MVLA Naviance system has created a database in which students can access scholarships located locally or in Northern California.
“Our Naviance system has provided scholarships that have been most successful for our students to attain, for the application pools are smaller than those of national organizations,” Joseph said. “The scholarships listed there are based locally in our area.”
In a world of education inflation, we cannot expect to be able to keep up with the thousands of dollars compiled by universities year by year. Luckily for us, scholarships are all about passion and expression, qualities which we all uniquely posses. While we all may not be recruited for USC football or a Harvard Dual-Degree program, we certainly can express our passions. Scholarships won’t provide everything, but they’re there for us to find, and they’ll certainly help.