SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WGGB) — If you have kids in high school or in college you know all too well about the high cost of a college education.
But with tuition costs going up ever year, some are calling the cost of sending your children to college unsustainable.
Deciding where to send your child to college is one of the biggest decisions that a family will ever make.
There’s emotion involved. The pressure to attend a school with a big name is always there. And then there’s the daunting task of paying for college. If the current trend continues many of us simply won’t be able to afford to send our kids to college.
“If you look at the medium family income which had basically doubled in any given 20 year period since the early 1980′s,” said Adam Metsch of the College Advisor of New England. “College costs meantime have more than tripled, essentially tripled.
Adam Metsch helps families make some of the tough decisions about where to go to college and how to pay for the college education.
Costs are sky high, upwards of a quarter of a million dollars for a top flight, four year, university education. In many cases more money to attend college than the average family pays for a home.
“It’s becoming a case of the have and have nots,” said Metsch. “So it’s really the middle income families that are really getting pinched. Not able to qualify for financial aid, and not making enough to pay for college. It’s really becoming more of a crisis.”
But there is some relief out there. A lot of college’s across the country are actually cutting tuition by upwards of fifty percent.
Joining the list of cost cutting colleges is Mt. Holyoke College in South Hadley. For the first time since 1968 it doesn’t cost as much to go to college this year as it did last year.
“Mary Lyon founded this college wanting to make sure that talented women would have access to excellence in higher education,” said Mt. Holyoke College President Lynn Pasquarella. “Regardless of socio-economic backgrounds. So we think this is a decision that’s consistent with not only our mission but with our national historic mission of educating for democracy.”
The students in Lynn Pasquarella’s Bio-Ethics class are among the best and the brightest in the country. Mt. Holyoke competes with other big name schools for students that excel. To compete schools need to charge more money to raise revenues. But it’s getting to the point where some schools are pricing students out of the market.
“This is equilivent to ‘Moneyball’,” said Pasquarella. “Where there are so many institutions who really are striving to be like the big institutions that have large endowments and they have seemingly infinite resources. And we can’t continue to act as if we can raise tuition to increase revenues, without recognizing the increasing loan burden for our students.”
While there may not be a fast and true solution to paying for college, Adam Metsch did offer some free advice. He said to start early, get informed, and don’t get caught up in a big name school.
“Certainly the best strategy that families can employ is to get started early,” said Metsch. “Most people don’t really understand what a good college planning process is. For a lot of families it starts at the end of the junior year, the beginning of the senior year. It’s more of an event. What we like to do is really help families start at the end of the sophomore year.”
Now interestingly enough the University of Massachusetts is also getting creative when it comes to playing for college.
Commonwealth College on the Amherst campus is a top flight honors college at a state university price. The goal of Commonwealth College is to attract honor students from in state, make education affordable, and most of all keep these excelling students at home.
You can go to college for a bargain price. But students and parents have to both do their homework.