Sending Your Kids to College

August 28, 2008 12:17:41 PM PDT
Sending a kid to college can be a real challenge for parents. Especially when incomes aren't keeping up with the rising cost of higher education.Can't afford college? You're not alone.

The total cost of a degree from U.C. Merced is about $24,000 dollars. Fresno state is roughly $14,000 dollars, and that's on the low end when compared to other public universities.

That puts college out of reach for many middle class and low-income families.

Back to school time means college tuition bills are soon to follow and the cost goes up each year for families like the Kostalis', whose daughter Amanda will be a freshman. "The real problem with tuition and fees going up so rapidly is that family incomes have actually been stagnating," said Sandy Baum with the College Board.

Since 1998, median household income has only increased by just one-third of one percent, adjusted for inflation. Meanwhile, average tuition shot up 53% for 4-year public colleges, and 33% for private schools in the last decade.

Last year, one year of college averaged about $6,000 for public school and nearly $24,000 for private; not including room and board. "You can't expect a normal, average family to pay that kind of money, when they're struggling to make the mortgage and put food on the table. How does that happen?" asked Diane Kostalis, Amanda's mother.

That question remains partially unanswered as 18-year-old Amanda packs for Moravian College. Thanks to large academic scholarships, grant money and loans, the Kostalis family said they're responsible for only $8,000 dollars of the $38,000 dollar bill for Amanda's freshman year. The family feels they got a great deal, and yet it's still a burden.

Amanda expects to graduate $21,000-dollars in debt, a figure she and her mom find hard to grasp. "I have nothing to compare it to in my life. I don't have a job, I don't have a house, I don't have anything like that to pay for," said Amanda.

Earlier this year, officials at Stanford University announced they would no longer charge tuition to students from families earning less than $100,000 a year. For students whose families earn less than $60,000 a year, Stanford University will not charge for either Tuition or room and board.



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