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About Beth Bruno...
Beth is a freelance writer and editor with more than 20 years of experience in mental health and education. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, with a B.A. in Psychology in 1966. She continued her education at Harvard University (Ed.M. in Educaton, 1967) and Yeshiva University (M.A. in Clinical Psychology, 1976). Beth has served as Chair of the Psychology Department for the Special Children's Center in Ithaca, New York, and has worked as Adjunct Instructor at Tompkins-Cortland Community College.

Beth Bruno has always been "fascinated by people--their motives, emotions, what makes them tick." Her ability to "read people and connect with them" is a true gift. As a school psychologist, her philosophy is not to solve problems for people, but rather "to help people discover their inner resources and create ways to help themselves." "Some people fear the unknown," she says. "I welcome it, because I can usually make the best of whatever happens." Beth encourages questions from young people, adults, educators and professionals. She will do her best to answer each question personally and in a timely manner. She can be reached via email at bbruno@snet.net.

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Schoolhouse Views
by Beth Bruno

Creative College Financing

QUESTION: College costs are staggering these days. Do you have any information about scholarships and other ways to make higher education more affordable?

ANSWER: Many parents have written to me about the financial strain of college costs, as colleges continue to raise fees at two times the rate of inflation or more. Parents should not have to mortgage themselves to the hilt and jeopardize their financial security in retirement to pay for a child's college education. Retirement costs are rising almost as fast as tuitions are.

Parents and other adults want and need college degrees and advanced training, too. In today's labor market it's no longer unusual to change jobs, even to change careers, several times in a lifetime. Therefore, parents and children may find themselves in competition for family tuition dollars.

FINANCING ALTERNATIVES

Despite such obstacles, there are ways to attend college AND avoid crushing debt. Some of the ways resourceful families do it include the following:

  • Attend a local college and live at home.
  • Work part-time and attend school part-time, too, if necessary. By working and studying year-round, it may take five or six years to earn a degree, but work experience and graduation without debt are well worth it.
  • Attend junior college for two years (for lower tuitions); then transfer to a four-year university when you have established your major field of study.
  • Accept delayed admission to your college of choice in order to work for a year to save money toward expenses.
  • Work full-time and attend night school. If courses are job related, your company may pick up the tab.
  • Join ROTC for excellent financial support. (Military service is required after graduation. Also, this option has become increasingly competitive as the military downsizes.)
  • Graduate from high school with honors and apply for merit scholarships. If you have special musical, artistic, or literary talents, be sure to send colleges samples of your best work when you apply. Don't avoid the less well-known, smaller colleges that compete (with dollars) for top students.
  • Talented athletes can explore available athletic scholarships.
  • Check to see whether your high school offers courses that may carry college credit, under Advanced Placement or other programs.

  • Colleges can contribute by lowering tuitions, foregoing their tax-exempt status or paying a fixed percentage from their endowment funds to social security.

    Finally, government can help. Many European universities educate qualified residents tuition-free; and so can we. Major shifts in spending priorities would make it possible, without raising taxes. While phasing in the changes, lawmakers could establish tuition tax credits or tax deductions for college and trade school expenditures.

    INTERNET LEADS for COLLEGE FINANCING

    The Internet is fertile ground for further information about scholarships, fellowships, financial aid and creative financing ideas from college students themselves. After you visit the following websites, if you still need more ideas, search engines can help you track them down.
     

    2001 Connecticut Colleges and Universities is a site that presents admissions requirements, online applications and information about scholarships and financial aid to dozens of Connecticut colleges and universities.
    http://www.college-scholarships.com/connecticut.htm

    Ways to Pay for College is a colorful site, full of stories from college students nationwide, about how they earned money to pay college costs.
    http://www.crestar.com/borrow/student/features/ways_to_pay.html

    College and University Study Abroad can reduce costs, but be sure the degree or credits you earn will transfer stateside.
    http://collegeapps.miningco.com/msub9.htm

    College Connection constantly updates its extensive scholarship listings.
    http://www.collegescholarships.com/



    Beth Bruno bbruno@snet.net
    Welcome to Insights, the Luckiest Spot on the Internet

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