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  • July 2011
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How much is your education worth?

If you’re anything like I was in high school, you’re not giving much thought to the question of how you’re going to pay for college.  I was much more worried about where I was going, whether or not any of my friends were going there, and eventually, what my major was going to be. Even while in college, I didn’t concern myself with something as trivial as tuition– all of those nice loan companies were taking care of that for me. 

There was a study done recently which listed Pennsylvania as the 6th highest state in the nation for student loan debt. What factored into this statistic, you ask? A number of things– wages are declining, jobs are disappearing and the cost of college is increasing every single year. Average cost for a PA state school for 2009-10 was $10,761–  not including room and board– more than tripling in the last 25 years.

What about if you go to a private school like I did?  I went to Washington and Jefferson College– whose tuition is now up to $35,960/year– not including room and board. Harvard is $34,976 (plus room and board). I paid more for W&J than I would have for Harvard. Are you freaking kidding me?   Anyways, W&J–great school– probably a bad choice for me. I didn’t have any money saved up for college and neither did my parents. I ended up with loans for all of it. Not to mention adding grad school on top of that, which more and more people are doing now.

Research shows that for the first time in history, more people are falling out of the middle class ranks than joining it. 

Read. Read as much as you can about the many grants and scholarships that are available to college-goers. Take full advantage of them. You’ll need it. Trust me. 

Here are some great books to get you started in your quest to pay for college.

-Julie, CLP Beechview

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