Male student walking with graduation cap and gownHas anyone ever told you “college is an investment in your future”? Have you ever thought about what that truly means? The mere fact that you need to save and apply for funding makes it feel cumbersome … and really the bottom line is, is it affordable?

The good news is that it is! The direct cost of attending college is your tuition and books. With the support of your family, you can choose to reduce the additional costs of housing and meals or miscellaneous expenses by living at home or budgeting to live frugally. Sticker prices of attending college often include all of those costs showing a high price to pay towards your education; with the help of financial aid, tuition and books is easily covered.

The math is simple – on average, students at Moraine park pay $2230 in tuition and $400 in books, for a total of $2,630 per semester. At a minimum, students are eligible for up to $2,750 per semester in loans. If you have saved over the summer, you can reduce the amount you wish to borrow and apply that towards your bill. Most students manage to save between $4000 – $5,000 when working full time during the summer.

In addition to tuition, you would have weekly expenses, books and basic living expenses to cover. Students can easily cover weekly expenses by saving money from summer job … $2000 doesn’t sound like a lot but when broken down over the school year, that comes to $62.50 a week! That is a reasonable amount to cover basic weekly expenses, which leaves an additional $2,000-$3,000 to be applied towards tuition and books.

Be aware, attending college is not something you can just jump into on a whim. You do need to plan and put money aside to help cover expenses. Some students don’t plan and believe they will just find a way as they go. This is a risk – and one to avoid. You may end up with costs you did not anticipate, you may end up with responsibilities other than college that may prevent you from attending classes and completing school, or you may not find the right career choice and end up dropping out. You can avoid all of this if you do the investigating up front. Visit campus, meet with career counselors and learn what the commitment will be to attending school.

The reality is that college is so much more than just an investment. While you may spend several thousand dollars to start a career, what you will get out of it will provide an even greater return on your investment. Studies show, you are less likely to be unemployed; the earning potential over your lifetime increases by at least a million dollars; your quality of health is dramatically increased.

Life is a journey – a risk. You can jump in to life with both feet and make it a calculated risk by planning for college and talking to the right people.

Stay tuned for more blogs on Affordability and the Cost of Education…..

And for help with financial aid, visit morainepark.edu/financialaid.

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Written by Triena Bodart
Financial Aid Manager