There are dozens of reasons for choosing to pursue a college education. Parents also have a number of reasons to want their children to earn a degree. As a prospective student, your reasons may be as personal as broadening your horizons or as sensible as acquiring the vocational skills needed in order to enter (or return to) the workforce after receiving your degree. Regardless of your reasons for going to college, whether you plan to seek admission to an Ivy League school, a state university, or the local community college, you will have no choice but to face up to one cold, hard fact. Someone, somehow, will have to pay for your higher education! Unless you are fortunate enough to already have a trust fund, a college fund, or a parent (or other rich relative) who is willing and able to pay your way, that “someone” is probably going to be you. (Parents, if you're trying to plan ahead so you can be the willing-and-able one, don't worry—this book has plenty of advice for you, too!)
Though it is a somewhat safer environment than the “real world,” college should be seen as a four-year crash-course introduction to understanding how the world operates. A higher education will provide you with much more than just a piece of paper proving you earned a degree. If you are entering college straight out of high school, it will give you your first experiences of how life will work without mom and dad. No one will be able to write you a note if you forget (or just fail) to do an assignment or meet a responsibility. The ball will be in your hands, more so than it has ever been before. With the stress of classes, reading assignments, midterms, final exams, and term papers on your mind, the last thing you (or any college student, for that matter) need are financial worries stacked on top of the academic ones.
To be accepted to the schools of their choice, it is important for today's prospective college students to earn more than the minimum required GPA. Similarly, if they plan to meet the financial obligations of rising tuition and inflated living expenses, along with high-priced course textbooks and required supplies, college students must also be equipped with a working understanding of how money comes and goes out in the big, bad world.
Financially speaking, we live in a very difficult time for college students. As government funding is increasingly cut from colleges and universities, more and more academic institutions are finding themselves with no alternative but to hike the cost of tuition. Unfortunately, this translates into a heavier monetary burden for both current and prospective college students.
But please don't let that discourage you. No matter how grim you may think your chances are for paying for college, things are not as bad as they seem. There is still hope, and it starts right here between the covers of this book! With The Everything® Paying for College Book, you will take a guided tour through a vast arsenal of possible weapons to help you (and/or your parents) battle your way toward paying for college, from methods as solid as finding ways to capitalize on your academic and other merit-based strengths, to tactics as creative as microinvesting or even starting your own business. As we cover these potential strategies, we also provide you with the know-how that will empower you to make your own decision on the avenue of attack most appropriate for your own unique situation.
Whether you are a returning, nontraditional prospective student without a dime to spare to pay for grad school, a recent or soon-to-be high school graduate without enough money to go to the college of your dreams, or a parent planning to support a student through school—in two years or in twenty—this book is your guide on the path to a better education, which will then lead on toward a brighter future and an enriched quality of life.