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Money or College?

Mom of Senior Shares Thoughts On Rise In College Tuition

The drastic increase in college tuition has become a prominent factor in determining where graduating seniors attend college following graduation. These financial concerns are impacting families around the country and it is a topic that many people feel very strongly about. Anna Quinn, mother of NHS senior Adriana Quinn, said, “The increase in tuition is unsettling, especially with the current cost of living with inflation on the rise. The average working middle class is faced with new challenges in considering if a particular college is worth the investment for their child’s future. From a sound financial perspective, the cost after merit and other aid will be considered in her decision.”


While families want their children to go to their dream school, there are a lot of aspects that go into making it a reality. Anna Quinn said, “The final cost of college is heavily weighed in our decision. We considered the amount of loans that will be needed based on her current major and how long it will take to pay off. We are fortunate she received large amounts in merit, but ideally we do not want to see her leave college with a mortgage payment. Aside from the basic tuition, room and board there are other factors that add to higher education. My daughter is interested in studying abroad which would cost additional expenses as well as her everyday cost of living. As a result she will consider commuting to have the opportunity to study in Italy or consider dorming without the study abroad option. With that said, there are many factors outside just the cost that will be considered in her decision.”


Parents' and children’s opinions on attending colleges have evolved over the years because of the rise in tuition. Anna Quinn said, “I can’t speak for every family, because based on their circumstances, an expensive school is defined differently. I believe for the average family the push for scholarships (academic and athletic) is a major contributing factor with attending a more expensive university. For our family, having the ability to go away to a more expensive school depends on merit scholarships, grants, and what the FAFSA reports our family contribution is. Thankfully my daughter was awarded a number of merit scholarships from the individual colleges, which varied in amount. Additionally, applying for local scholarships and work study will add to her ability to go to a more expensive university.” 


Considering the rise in tuition and fees, there are many people who are seriously reconsidering whether attending college is necessary. Anna Quinn said, “As an individual with a masters degree and continuing her education, I don’t believe college is the right fit for every student, especially with the immense debt it comes with. It truly depends on what path the individual chooses and the amount of schooling required for that profession. I do believe this generation has a lot more opportunities out there to create a living without a four-year degree. If you wish to pursue college there are more cost-effective ways to approach it, such as completing community college for an associates first [or] becoming involved in the armed forces to help pay for your tuition while serving your country. I also believe trade schools carry a lot of value and have been shied away from for too many years.  There is a greater need for individuals to return to the trades and they have a less expensive price tag.”


Although the majority of students will go off to college, it certainly is not the only option for all of the graduating seniors. Anna Quinn said, “The expense is the major difference since I attended, but ultimately, I observe the whole college process tends to be more complicated since I graduated. However, we had the same interests regarding sports, academics and the big question of whether to stay home or go away. I was lucky to have the opportunity to go away for a summer, but ultimately cost, despite my grants, drove me to return home and become a commuter. Depending on your family size and income some may not consider cost as a factor and others will. With today’s rising tuition rates my family will consider tuition expenses as I did in the past.”


Altogether, the issue of increased college tuition is sparking a lot of conversation among the graduating seniors and their families regarding what the students' future will look like in terms of further education.