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The Student News Site of Freedom High School

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Combatting Rising College Costs

Screenshot+of+the+FAFSA+websites+opening+screen.+
Kierstin Han
Screenshot of the FAFSA website’s opening screen.

As seniors get ready to head off to college, one major concern remains: money. With inflation continuously rising over the years, college tuition has become increasingly unaffordable, with fees only getting worse if a student is attending a college out of state, or to a private institution. 

Aside from college tuition, students also need to pay for room and board, textbooks, and other supplies that help with their quality of life. With all of these combined, the total costs become absolutely outrageous. 

Considering that the job market is also incredibly competitive, it may be difficult to find a part-time job that won’t significantly interfere with a student’s studies, but still pay enough to make a dent to their total college fees.

Fortunately, there are many methods and resources that may help reduce the burden of these unreasonable costs.

The most important, and accessible resource is FAFSA. Simply by filling out the FAFSA form each school year, students will be able to apply for need-based federal financial aid. Additionally, the form is free! If the qualifications are met, students can receive certain grants or scholarships that will help cover the fee for a full academic year. However, it is important to note that FAFSA is based on parent/student income, meaning that not all applicants will be able to receive financial aid from FAFSA, but it never hurts to try. 

Though FAFSA is the main resource that most students rely on, there are numerous other ways to receive scholarships.

Many colleges provide merit scholarships based on a student’s academic achievement. One notable example is George Washington University’s “Presidential Academic Scholarship” which provides up to $25,000 per year for high achieving students. Other than directly from a college, students can also participate in competitions, where they can demonstrate their skills, such as their writing ability, in order to win a scholarship. 

Apart from these, students can also apply for scholarships from certain, participating organizations. One particularly renowned organization is Coca Cola, which has a program in which winners will receive a $20,000 scholarship. Note that this scholarship is incredibly competitive, and applications should be well rounded in academics, leadership, and extracurriculars. Other organizations that provide scholarships include, but are not limited to, The Gates Scholarship program, the Dell Scholars program, the Burger King Scholars program, and many more. 

Another great option for students is applying to join an ROTC program. If accepted, the program will pay for the full cost of tuition for all four years of college, all textbooks, and will also provide a stipend. However, being part of a ROTC program is a huge commitment and may not be for everyone. For example, ROTC students must serve in the U.S. military for a certain period of time in the respective branch they applied for upon graduating from their college. They will also have to abide by a strict schedule while in college, such as waking up early for training, and being back in the dorms by a certain time. Of course, there are still other benefits from joining ROTC, as students will be able to make strong connections with other ROTC peers, and they will be commissioned as officers during their service, rather than as enlisted personnel. Unfortunately, this is not the best option for students who value a full college experience.

There are definitely other great ways for students to help cover the costs of college, but I give my best wishes to all current and future seniors.

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About the Contributor
Kierstin Han
Kierstin Han, Staff Writer
Hello! My name is Kierstin, and I’m a senior at Freedom High School. I love watching shows and movies in my free time, or hanging out with my friends. I’m looking forward to helping create some amazing magazines this year!