Amanda Assalone // May 1, 2019
Each year high school seniors across the nation eagerly anticipate May 1st, National College Decision Day, when many officially decide where to pursue their educational endeavors for the next four years. This is an exciting time for most students, but it can also be overwhelming and even scary for some, especially for those who will be the first in their family to enroll in college. There’s a lot to consider in the college-selection process, most importantly, institutional fit and college affordability. As mentioned in “Unexpected Hurdles: Unpacking the Price Tag of College Affordability,” the rising cost of tuition, as well as unforeseen expenses accrued during college, often put higher education out of reach for some students, create barriers to college completion, and increase student debt. Therefore, the question of how can students select the right college they can afford, thrive academically, and persist through to graduation remains for many students.
At this point, many seniors have completed the FASFA in hopes to financially support their education. Some may have received scholarship award letters by now as well. As students are reviewing and accepting financial aid packages and scholarship offers, it is important for them to understand that college affordability is comprised of more than tuition and fees. Students should consider if their financial support will be enough to cover housing, transportation, books, food, healthcare, or any other financial barrier that may arise through college matriculation. Unfortunately, prospective college students tend to think mainly about covering the cost of tuition, and neglect considering living expenses, and other unanticipated costs that may occur along the way.