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Article:

Student dropout rates linked to high stress over finances

Many students are faced with the realization that paying for college has become worth more than some people's yearly salaries. The rise of inflation, the budget crisis and annual increases are some of the reasons that college has become financially unattainable for some individuals. While there are government grants and financial aid, some students are still left with too great of debt to afford to stay.

Some reasons students have to start paying for their education could be because their parents have lost their jobs in the recession, their grades were not up to par, or they're out on their own. According to U.S. & World Report, while students may have personal reasons for paying for their schooling, parents should be aware of the financial mess it could leave them in. The government doesn't always recognize students who are on their own and request for parents' incomes. This could ultimately result in less financial aid or a disqualification of grant money.

While private colleges offer higher financial aid because they recognize a higher family income in the low six-figures, these institutions are also more expensive. According to findings from the College Board, the average cost of attending a private institution is $26,273 for this school year. This is compared to the $7,020 tuition price of in-state institutions, which is still considered high as it has risen 6.5 percent from the previous year. These figures do not include room and board costs, which can cost as high as $1,700 a month at some schools.

Number of college dropouts linked to money woes

Students who pay for school themselves are more likely to dropout due to financial issues that those who get help from their families, according to a survey conducted by Public Agenda reported by the New York Times. Many students are faced with the reality that they may not graduate on time, due to class scheduling, changing majors and other factors. The survey shows that 2.8 million new students enroll in higher education every year. Of this number, only one in five students who enroll in an associate's degree program graduate in three years, and two in five who enroll in a four-year plan graduate in six years. Students who face paying for tuition themselves may not be able to afford the tuition for extra years.

The survey also reveals that students who are receiving financial backing from family members have a 63 percent graduation rate, exceeding the 42 percent of those who graduate who pay for college on their own.

"The conventional wisdom is that students leave school because they aren't willing to work hard and aren't really interested in more education," Jean Johnson, executive vice president of Public Agenda, told the New York Times. "What we found was almost precisely the opposite. Most work and go to school at the same time, and most are not getting financial help from their families or the system itself."

Alternate options

For students who have to pay for the education on their own, online learning could be a cheaper and beneficial option. Because all of the coursework is supplied via the internet, costs for room and board or transportation are negated.

The State University of New York school system came up with an interactive calculator that allows students to enter in all of their costs of commuting so they can see the average difference in cost from online education.

Similarly, when students are looking at colleges, it's a good idea to look into all the extra room and board and hidden fees. By determining those costs, they could simply subtract that total from their budget, as online education doesn't require most of the student fees that classroom-based programs do.

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