New programs created to help college students
Financial aid, scholarships and grants are enormous deciding factors when choosing a college. But for many students, the financial strains keep them from pursuing higher education and government officials say they want to help. Our Cara Thomas tells us about programs that are being created to help make college a possibility for those who are struggling financially.
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ST. LAWRENCE COUNTY, N.Y. -- College students and their families face the same financial struggle every year: Figuring out how they'll pay for tuition. With costs as low as $5,000 at state schools and more than $55,000 at some private schools, it's an enormous financial burden to bear. But colleges say they do what they can to help.
"We're very proactive in making sure that students are getting their financial aid applications filed," said Kerrie Cooper, SUNY Canton Director of Financial Aid.
"We have a very large, I think it's a very healthy financial aid budget, because we really want to make it affordable for economic diversity on campus," said Pat Farmer, St. Lawrence University Director of Financial Aid.
As tuition continues to grow each year, colleges aren't the only ones trying to encourage people to get a higher education. The government is as well. On a state and nationwide level, programs are being created to make tuition more affordable.
Cooper said, "I believe that there is a focus out there now to help students, primarily because of the rising debt loads that they have from students loans and it's good to see."
The College Affordability Program is a bill that's currently working its way through the Assembly to hold middle class families afford college tuition. The program will cut interest rates in half for student loans and gives graduating students incentives to stay and work in New York by giving them tax credit.
Farmer said, "Anything that could help lower taxes, and this is New York State specific, lower taxes, that's going to impact future graduates."
And the White House is also heading an initiative to encourage financial aid transparency, so incoming and currently enrolled students can make decisions that best fit their financial needs.
"They want schools to use a standard in letting students know what their costs are and letting students know what their awards are so that they can better compare award notifications from school to school," Cooper said.
College officials say this extra assistance from the government could help increase enrollment. After all, every little bit helps.