Blueprint Downers Grove South High School Downers Grove, IL
Issue Date: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 Issue: Volume #48 Edition #5 Last Update: Friday, March 22, 2013


Anticipation of college debt for next school year causes concern for students, staff
College debt causes stress to many high school students. - Sammie Anselmo

With fourth quarter fast approaching, DGS seniors have got one thing on their minds: college. However, in addition to major acceptance letters, students are coming across major price tags.

A college degree has long been considered the key to a successful career. Approximately 50 percent of DGS students attend four-year colleges and about 40 percent attend community college.

Recently, higher education has become synonymous with rising tuition costs and, as a result for some, loads of college debt. Counselor Cory Rasho discusses the extent to which cost is a factor in choosing the right school.

"College cost absolutely impacts many senior students’ decision-making process," Rasho said. "At times this can lead to students deciding to attend college…where they receive the best financial package."

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported that student loan debt increased to $956 billion in 2012. Senior Michele Phillips, who is currently in the college selection process, agrees that money has played a large role when making her own decision.

"One major struggle for me is finding a balance between the program that is best for me and the cost to attend the school," Phillips said. "Taking loans out to go to a better school is one option, but there is always that risk of not getting a job after college and then being stuck in a difficult situation."

On the other hand, there are many viable options for students who endeavor to come out of college with the least amount of debt possible. These include community college, as well as scholarship opportunities.

Senior Jack LeBaron will be attending the College of DuPage (COD) in the fall, where he plans to take general education classes. COD is a community college with more than 31,000 students attending each semester.

"COD is a great way to find out what I want to study at another university while saving money," LeBaron said. "I would recommend it to seniors who are going to have a hard time affording a more traditional school."

Students who have a weighted or un-weighted high school GPA of 3.75 on a 4.0 scale or a 27 ACT composite score can even apply for a full tuition scholarship at COD, something LeBaron certainly hopes to take advantage of.

Applying for the many scholarships available for senior students each year is another way to save money on college. Counselor Terry Tiesman would like to see more students applying for scholarships through Naviance.

"Students are interested in scholarships when colleges approach them about an opportunity, but I do think students could be more active in seeking them out," Tiesman said. "Applying to scholarships takes time and there are no guarantees for the student, so I think they are hesitant to work hard at it."

Whether students are on their way to their dream school or are still keeping their mind on the money, the cost of college has been on the rise, which has had a major impact on senior students. However there are many options available for students to ensure that their experience will be positive.

"There are amazing colleges that cost a fortune and there are amazing colleges that offer many scholarships or even allow people to attend the college for free," Phillips said. "It’s all about what makes the student happy."

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