Friday, April 3, 2009

Look for Solutions, Not Problems

A friend recently sent me a link to a Times article, "Colleges Face a Financial-Aid Crunch," that details the admissions process at one private college. Many students, due to the economic times, are not finding it as easily to get into college.

Since many colleges receive their funding from students' tuition, the loss of revenue can affect the programs at the college.

Here is the article:

After reading this article, I have to admit I got a sense of hopelessness. The article conveyed accurate and valuable information, but what I perceived from the article was doom and gloom.

What is important here is the word "perception." I may perceive something, but that perception is being filtered through my expectations, my values, my world view. Perception is not reality.

Many people are having a difficult time finding money to pay for college. Many people who used to finance their way through college did so by loans, and now those loans are not as available.

The problem of not getting easy loans can become an opportunity. Some statistics about students and debt:

  • From 2001-2007, an estimated 60% of bachelor's degree recipients borrowed to fund their education.

  • From 2001-2007, average debt per bachelor's degree recipient increased from $10,600 to $12,400.

  • In 2007, nearly 2-out-of-3 college students reported having one credit card, with seniors in college having an average debt of $2,623 on their card.

More statistics about students and debt can be found here:

Now, for some solutions:

1. In this page of educational statistics about students and debt, I saw the following information:

According to 2008 study by the Institute for Corporate Productivity, 81% of organizations offer some kind of tuition assistance.

If you are employed, check out your human resources department and company's web site for information about tuition assistance for both you and/or your children.

Notice I said to do both. Sometimes one person in an organization (a person in the human resources department) will not know about all the possibilities. Ask, inquire, be positive and polite. Send thank you notes for all help you receive.

2. In the Times article, there is a link to College Confidential ( , a web community for college bound students, dealing with searching for college programs, financial aid, and the college admissions process.

Here you can find information and discuss topics that might interest you.

3. I learned from a financial aid book review by Dave Berry about Chris Vuturo, author of The Scholarship Advisor, Fifth Edition. This is the latest edition of the book he wrote.

Chris Vuturo got over $885,000 in aid award offers.

Berry writes that Chris Vuturo goes into detail about how to search for money: "For starters, there's information on more than 100,000 scholarships with a complete explanation of the scholarship application process. This includes sample essays and interview tips . . . Chris tells you how to organize your scholarship search, focusing on not-so-obvious sources such as employers, companies, and not-for-profit organizations."

Much like the other authors I recommend like Ben Kaplan, Marianne Ragins, and Gen and Kelly Tanabe, Chris Vutoro has actually found money for school and describes the process.

Chris Vuturo's latest book was published in 2002. What's important is the process, which you can duplicate in your search for money, not the publication date.

If you are looking for scholarships within this book, you will have to look for more up-to-date information about those scholarships using the Internet.

Chris Vutoro has some good advice in this 2009 article:

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