Miami High News

Paying For College

MDC representatives helping students complete their fafsa application.

MDC representatives helping students complete their fafsa application.

By Gina Martinez, Copy Editor

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Most seniors have their eyes set on attending college after high school. Some may not realize how pricey college can be or if they can even afford it. Still, there are tons of resources out there to help you pay off a higher-level education.

Cost of College

Depending on where you decide to attend college, tuition can range anywhere from $3,000 to $57,000 per year, not to mention additional fees, books, room and board, meal plans, and personal expenses. According to the College Board, the average cost of tuition, which is the most expensive part of college, for the 2017–2018 school year was $34,740 at private colleges, $9,970 for state residents at public colleges, and $25,620 for out-of-state residents attending public universities.

Many students consider money as a big priority when choosing where to attend. Class of ‘17 graduate Karol Orellana says, “I was worried about going to college because I thought I was going to make my mother pay thousands for my education.” She decided to attend the Honors Program at MDC which pays for tuition, fees, books, and offers a cash stipend.

On the other hand, Class of ‘14 graduate Estrella Quiroz, a senior now at the University of Florida, said that even if she hadn’t gotten a scholarship, she was prepared to take out loans because she believes the education and opportunities are worth the investment.

 Resources to Pay for College

   Although the price tag for college may scare off many students, there is actually plenty of resources to help pay for it. According to a study posted on the website for USA Today College, around $2.9 billion of federal grant money was left unclaimed after high school seniors eligible for Pell Grants — which don’t have be paid back — neglected to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in the last academic year.

CAP advisor Ms. Puentes says that completing FAFSA is worth completing; “you just need to put in the effort.” She says that since FAFSA has opened in October, Miami High has held 10 FAFSA workshops to help students and their families complete the extensive application. FAFSA workshops for February 22, March 8th, and March 15 have been added because many seniors have still not completed the form.

Getting a job is another way to pay for college expenses. Class of ‘15 graduate Yeileneen Flores is paying for MDC with a payment plan that she set up that self-pays for her classes in installments. When the classes are over, she receives reimbursement from her job at Alorica for her good grades.

“I will probably get a job while I’m in college to help pay off the debt and take some of the financial weight off my mom,” said senior Veronica Estrada, who plans to attend Miami-Dade College. Similarly, senior Andy Rodriguez says that he’s mainly going to work to pay for college and utilize FAFSA.

Others are going to rely on FAFSA and scholarships. Senior Elian Gonzalez is applying for as many scholarships as he can, hoping to receive enough money so that he doesn’t have to take out too many loans.

Other Expenses

College students have other bills besides tuition. Estrella Quiroz uses whatever is left from her scholarship money to pay for her rent, phone, credit cards, etc.

Class of ‘16 graduate Brandon Muñoz says his main bills are rent and utilities, and the majority of that is paid for from student loans.

MDC student Sebastian Saavedra, another Class of ‘16 graduate, says he assists his mom in paying portions of rent and other utilities, but finds it difficult to balance college savings, house bills, and his own luxury spending.

Ways to Save While in College

Once you have a plan for how you will pay for college, it’s good to continue saving while you’re in school. Sebastian Saavedra says that if you have financial aid to pay for college, you sometimes get a refund for the money that isn’t spent each semester. He recommends to put this money in a savings account or save it for summer classes, which aren’t covered by FAFSA. “Also apply for work study, which is when the college helps you find a job, to pay for your tuition,” he said.

Brandon Muñoz recommends learning how to cook because even if it’s cheap fast food, eating out can start adding up after a while.

Estrella suggests living off-campus as opposed to dorms and the more roommates, the better since rent will be cheaper.

Karol recommends using the cheapest mode of transportation and when buying books, look for PDFs or used books.

 

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About the Writer
Gina Martinez, Copy Editor

Senior in Journalism 3

1 Comment

One Response to “Paying For College”

  1. Maria❤️ on March 14th, 2018 7:18 pm

    Amazing! So proud❤️

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