Paying for a college education is a good news, bad news proposition.
Let’s start with the bad. It's not exactly news that the cost of college tuition has been rising steadily for years. Between 2005-06 and 2015-16, in-state tuition and fees at public four-year institutions increased at an average annual rate of 3.4% above inflation. It’s little surprise, then, that 70% of college seniors who graduated in 2014 had student loan debt, according to the Project on Student Debt at the Institute for College Access & Success. Their average debt burden: $28,950.
The good news is, there’s a wealth of public and private sources for college funding, many of them overlooked or underutilized. For people who are willing to invest the time and energy to identify and pursue these sources, the pay-off can oftentimes be thousands, even tens of thousands, of dollars to put toward the dream of earning a college degree.
Unlocking these opportunities requires research and follow-through, with a healthy dose of guidance from people who are knowledgeable on the subject of college funding. “You have to cast a wide net,” says Dan Andrews, a Certified Financial Planner™ and founder of Well Rounded Success, a Millennial-oriented financial advisory firm in Greenwood Village, CO.
Here are some suggestions to help successfully cast that net for college funds in places others might not be looking: