The college experience is often considered a dream among American students, but with the high financial costs, those dreams can quickly turn into monetary nightmares.
According to a 2010 New York Times story, college tuition sticker prices have nearly doubled over the last 30 years. Tuitions after World War ll dropped substantially with the passing of the GI Bill, but the numbers began to climb as economic inflation came creeping back into a post-war America.
uAspire is a non-profit organization based in Boston that has been combating this college financial stress since 1985. The company works with both high school and college students to navigate financial award letters, tuitions, loans and due dates, among other tasks.
Beginning to research scholarships as soon as possible can help ease the stress of paying for higher education, according to Allie Negron, an advisor working on the Afford program.
“There’s so much going on within senior year of high school. They are doing applications, financial aid applications, courses, working, so it’s easy to get lost.” she said.
uAspire is broken up into three programs: Afford, Succeed, and Virtual Learning. The advisors reach out to students through text message, phone calls, and one-on-one meetings to discuss affording college.
Through uAspire, students from 15 different states have been able to create a financial plan using the organization’s resources. What the organization can’t change is the state and federal government’s level of contributions to the students’ tuition.
“What you find is the expenses have gone up, and the share of money that used to come from state governments has not increased to match those cost increases,” said Jason Johnson, the director of communications and public relations at uAspire.
“So what happens is schools turn towards tuitions to fill those gaps,” he said.
Student debt owed by the average Massachusetts college graduate is $31,466—the sixth highest rate in the country, according to the Institute for College Access and Success.
However, a report from credit.com suggests that some students are suffocating under debt that can reach close to hundreds of thousands of dollars.That same report indicates no sign of a decline in graduates’ debts, and in fact it seems to be getting worse.
Despite the increasing debt trend, uAspire has set new standards for students.
“We want students to know what they are getting themselves into. We know it can be confusing, so we want to help,” Johnson said.