It's no secret that financing a college education is getting
tougher. College costs have skyrocketed over the past decade or so, and there's
no relief in sight. Average tuition at four-year colleges will increase 7
percent this school year, double the rate of inflation. Student aid is not
increasing fast enough to plug the growing gap between tuition and family
finances. In addition, there is a growing number of older students entering
college today. These students have families that they need to support. I know,
because I am a family man who has returned to school. I wish to finish my
degree at the Rochester Institute of Technology. The only ...view middle of the document...
The cost of attending RIT is approximately $15700 per year. This
does not include room and board, or books, and supplies . This cost falls in
line with the national average. However , according to Rachel Shuman of the RIT
Financial Aid Department,"the increase in cost at RIT was 4.8 percent for the
1996-97 academic year over the 1995-96 academic year." This falls 2.2 percent
below the national average for 4 year private institutions. Still, $15700 is a
lot of dollars for an unemployed family man or woman with little or no income.
The Cost Of Living Factor
Though the Cost Of Living is not directly related to tuition it
is still a major player in the decision making process. Is it possible to
maintain a family financial structure while paying for an education? The cost of
a mortgage, or rent, and other bills that are associated with living adds up to
many thousands of dollars per year. These costs in addition to what the tuition,
books, and supplies total are expected, and have to be dealt with.
The financial burden alone can seem over-whelming to some. But
let us consider what the total cost of living and attending a four year private
institution are. The Bureau of Census statistics for the County of Monroe
indicate "that the approximate average income for a family of four is $50964.
The poverty level for a family of four is approximately $15455". These are
statistics calculated for the 1995 calendar year. No newer statistics were
available. With these statistics in mind we can then determine the financial
model we must follow. This model will determine what the total yearly outlay a
family of four must shoulder in order to send a person to RIT.
The Financial Burden
First and foremost a family has to live. The Census data
indicates that the minimum a family must earn is "a poverty level income." So,
let's assume a family needs $16000 per year for living expenses. The cost of
attending RIT is $15651 per year. Books and supplies are approximately $1200 per
year. Finally, travel expenses will be approximately $500 per year. I am
assuming that one spouse will be working to cover the living expenses. So, I am
excluding medical and dental costs. These costs are partially or fully covered
by an employer. In the event they are not let us include them in the poverty
scenario, which basically means the family must pay the costs.
The total amount of funds needed are $17700 the first year. If
you increase that number by 4.8% each year thereafter you can come up with the
projected amount for each school year.The $17700 figure remains the obstacle to
overcome. This cost has to be covered by Financial Aid. If this cost cannot be
covered by the available system, the student will not be able to pursue a
standard four year degree at RIT.
Family's Will Strain
It's going to be tougher to pay for college in 1996, and that's
going to widen the gap in enrollment between rich and poor...