The cost of a college education is growing faster than the cost of health care, the rate of inflation, and the median family income in America. At a time when college degrees are more necessary than ever to get a good job and sustain a family, hurtful policies at the federal, state, and institutional levels are making it increasingly difficult for low-income students to afford a college education.
In fact, going to college today is five times more expensive than it was 15 years ago.
There are three critical things we parents can do to make college more affordable for our children and the whole country.
First, help your kids take rigorous and Advanced Placement courses in high school. Better preparation means lower college costs: Students are less likely to need remedial courses or fail required courses, and are more likely to “test out” of some college requirements.
Second, fill out the Free Application for Federal Financial Student Aid (FAFSA). This form is used to determine eligibility for such federal student aid as Pell Grants and low-interest federal student loans. It also serves as the basis of many other types of state and institutional financial aid. If you need help filling out your FAFSA form, or have questions about the process, please click here for help in English and here for Spanish. The website has a handy chat window where you can ask questions live, and there is a free helpline, 1‑800‑4‑FED‑AID (1‑800‑433‑3243), in both languages.
Third, push your representatives, at the local, state and federal levels, to protect funding that helps working-class students access higher education. You can get started by adding your name to the Save Pell campaign.
Have a great weekend. And remember: Higher education is one of the last vehicles of social mobility in America. We need to make sure our policymakers address the issue of skyrocketing college costs.