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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Who should pay for college, students or parents?

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Many believe that attending college is an investment – an expensive investment – but a lifelong asset nonetheless. And with Congress holding the key to possible increases in interest rates to Stafford loans, the costs of college could be going up right before our very eyes.

How to finance college is a sobering reality for today’s high school juniors and seniors who have aspirations of continuing their education. So that leaves one to wonder, who should pay for college? Should students take financial ownership of their future or should their parents, who have had time to become established, foot the bill?

The Recorder spoke to local high school students to find out their thoughts and also talked with Frederick Yeakey, director of the College Prep Institute at the Center for Leadership Development to get his expert opinion on funding college.


Students say…

“If parents have a substantial amount of money to pay for their child’s tuition, I think they should pay for it. If not, then I think it should be half and half – the child should fill out the FAFSA and try to get scholarships so that their parents won’t have to pay so much for college. Parents should help out with anything they can – books – anything they can contribute.” – Ernest Burton, senior at Broad Ripple High School.

“I think it’s a collective thing. Since you’re 18 now, you are responsible for yourself. I also feel like parents should support what their child wants to do, whether it’s going to college, trade school or simply going to work. I’m not saying they have to help pay for it, but support. If it’s not books or something, it could be food or necessities. (Going to college) is something students want and something they have to work for. It’s better when you work for it.” – Kaylin Warren, senior at Arsenal Technical High School.

“I think it’s a mixture of responsibility. For me, I have a full scholarship to Indiana University because my parents’ situation isn’t as good as it should be. My dad is going to help me as much as he can. I think it’s the parent’s responsibility to prepare students and make them aware of their financial situation or if they can pay for college. It’s also important for the student to realize that ‘this is the beginning of my new life, I should want to start it on the right foot.’” – Kamen Rose, senior at Arsenal Technical High School.

“I’m kind of torn on this issue because on one hand, as students just getting out into the world, we don’t have the funds to actually pay for college ourselves. On the other hand, it’s not our parent’s education, it’s ours and I think we should take some responsibility in paying for it. So I guess I would say it should be equal, parents and students should pay.” – Robert Sherrell, senior at Arsenal Technical High School.

“It should be a collaboration of both. Students should find as many scholarships as they can and whatever is left over should be the responsibility of both. Even if students get a job, parents can help out – maybe parents can match what their child makes. But the responsibility shouldn’t be on one person. But I feel that if students pay for it themselves, that’s more of a reason to stay in college. If their parents pay for it, they may say ‘I don’t know if college is for me’ and won’t know all of the things their parents have done to help pay for college.” – Jana Warren, senior at Arsenal Technical High School.

“I feel like students should help, but because students don’t have jobs and probably rely more on their parents, having parents save money early is a good idea. If students do have jobs, they should put in a certain amount and not totally depend on parents. Even if we do have jobs, because we’re in school, we don’t get to work a lot. We don’t make that much money to be able to pay for college without taking out loans. I don’t think high school students should take out loans. Everyone I’ve talked to said it’s not a good idea. I think most of college tuition should be on the parent.” – Jael Haskins, senior at North Central High School.

The expert says…

*    Going to college should be a family decision, but the ultimate ownership lies with the student. If a student chooses to go, parents should be engaged in the process.

*    African-Americans have come a long way, but the majority doesn’t know what it takes to attend college.

*    Planting the seed for college should begin in middle school. Find local programs to begin educating the family on what college is all about.

*    High school students should take the right courses to truly be prepared for college classes. Close to 46 percent of students that go to community college and 12 percent at four-year colleges need remedial courses. Of that population, more than 60 percent of those students are Black.

*    High school students should never take the minimum required. A Core 40 diploma is not enough. Make sure your courses are well rounded and participate in extracurricular activities. Colleges like diverse students.

*    Choose your major wisely. Even if you can fund college, if you want to be a doctor and can’t pass biology, you’re wasting money.

*    Remember, going to college is more than just tuition. There are other costs involved such as application fees, travel costs, room and board, books, toiletries and parking or bus passes among other costs.

*    Think twice before taking out loans, especially private loans. If you don’t finish your degree, you still have to pay that money back and no degree to show for it.

*    Scholarships and grants are not the same thing. Scholarships are merit based and are hard to come by. Plus, the majority of scholarships given are academic, not athletic. Grants have less requirements.

*    Consider community colleges to get a certificate or associates degree. There’s also Historically Black Colleges and Universities who will work with you if your GPA is low.

*    If you are a high school junior or senior, it is not too late. Don’t let the cost of college deter you from going. Find help for your college plan. “If you think that college is expensive, calculate the cost of ignorance. When I see a student that reminds me of myself, that has a desire but lacks the resources I say to them ‘the best thing you can do is invest in yourself.’ That saying still speaks to me,” said Yeakey.

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