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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Why Our Kids Can't Work Their Way Through College Like We Did

Recently, Julie Mack wrote an excellent article  (What many older people don’t realize about college costs today).  She points out (with great charts!) a number of factors that contribute to the challenge high school students face today.  In the ‘60s, ’70s, and ‘80s, students could work their way through college.  However, that opportunity is no longer available.  Let’s look, briefly, at why.

1.    Tuition was considerably cheaper.  It has quadrupled, even after factoring in inflation.  For public universities, approximately 70% of their funds came from state funding.  Now, only 23% do.  Adjusted for inflation, the 2001 Michigan state subsidy was 68% greater than the 2017 subsidy.  The Michigan House Fiscal Agency calculated that between 60% and 80% of the tuition increases between 2000 and 2013 could be attributed to cuts in state funding.

2.    Financial aid is different now.  In 1975, loans comprised 17% of financial aid.  Now, federal loans account for 42% of aid (some sources report an even higher percentage.)  The maximum Pell grant in 1975 covered ALL of tuition AND some room and board expenses.  The current maximum Pell grant will cover less than half of the tuition costs at a public university. Social Security stopped paying benefits to students who had lost a parent in 1982.  In 1975, Social Security paid more money to US college students than Pell grants did.  Scholarship monies have significantly decreased, with some need based scholarships that used to cover full tuition costs now only cover $1,000.

3.    Working during college is FAR less lucrative.  The high paying factory jobs collegians could work during the summers and earn enough to cover the next year’s college costs, are gone.  The jobs college students can get now typically pay minimum wage, half (or less) of what students in the 1970s earned.

 IIf you are interested in lowering your college costs, I invite you to schedule a consultation with me.  Over the past 13 years working with families all over the US, I have identified the key factors that need to be addressed in order to lower college costs and increase college funding.  My Class of 2017 students were offered over $243,000 each, on average, in college scholarships.  As wonderful as that is, it's only part of the expertise I bring to each client's situation.  Working holistically, I am able to guide students to college success.  Here's how I define that:

   Premier Student Preparation 
         + Savvy College Selection 
                  + Abundant Funding 
                             = College Success

Email me today to request your college consultation. Katherine O'Brien, MA CCPS
  For more information regarding my services, please visit

For Julie's full article, please see:

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