Cost of college a growing challenge

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The price of a college degree is steep, and for many, covering the cost is impossible.  New students at American International College in Springfield moved into their dorms on Sunday.

“I’m still paying off my student loans and I’m forty years old. I’ll probably be paying that off until I’m at least 70.”

It’s a story told across the nation, the high price of a college education has many students in debt.  It even prevents some from getting a degree.

“I’m a GED holder, so I never went to college because I couldn’t afford it. And my parents unfortunately when I asked them, they just said they couldn’t, and they wouldn’t,” said Paul Valentin.

According to student loan service Sallie Mae, the tuition of an in-state public college averages more than $22 thousand dollars.  To put that into perspective, that equals staying at an all-inclusive Bahama’s resort, 21 times.

For new students the price of tuition is just the start of it. They also have to fill their dorm rooms with expensive items like lamps and printers that cost a lot of money.

“It’s very hard to try and get into a school let alone pay for something. I usually spend 5 to 8 hundred dollars a semester for books,” said Skylar Adams.

Many families are now shopping for schools by price.  One mother says when it was decision time; she helped her son eliminate the most expensive colleges first, leaving only affordable options.

“Actually he started at a community college at first, luckily enough he was able to get a full scholarship here. But if it wasn’t for that he wouldn’t be going to college, at all,” said Sandra Baldwin.

Students can also cut costs by staying local to commute and renting books instead of buying.

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