College Night Reality Check

Fresno, CA, USA A lot of those students got a reality check on how much college can cost. David Navarro's job is to deliver reality to parents and students who are reaching the end of the road in high school.

He says a lot of teenagers have unrealistic expectations about their opportunities after graduation, especially in a bad economy. "They tell me all the time, 'I'm going to get this job. I'm going to make this kind of money'," he said. "But the reality is: they're not."

The reality also is, a college degree is worth about $1 million over the course of a lifetime, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That's why the Fresno Convention Center filled up with students and parents, looking for the best options in higher education. "I was looking at Fresno State - there's a good psychology program I didn't know about," said high school senior Kaitlyn Nichols. "Then there was this new one I never even heard of, Academy of Arts."

Nichols says she found new options for places to study. Her mother, Kelly Braley, is focusing on other options, like how to pay for it. "I'm shocked at the cost of college these days and how hard it is for the average working parents to put their child through college," she said.

Four years at Fresno State can cost about $60,000 -- including tuition, fees, and room & board. Other schools cost more. But not every future college student is cost-conscious. We asked several how much they'd pay for four years at a university. Most of them guessed low or had absolutely no idea how much it would cost. Only a few came close.

Whatever it costs, the College Night Expo gave parents and students information on how to get scholarships and grants, and the cheapest possible loans.

It also encouraged some of them to look into a cheaper education, like starting at Fresno City College or another community college.


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