Paying for college: You really can do it |

Paying for college: You really can do it

Tracy Tutag and Jeffrey Apps
Tracy Tutag

College costs are an obstacle for many American families: With the cost of college rising faster than inflation, its no wonder that 70 percent of Americans think that higher education is being priced beyond the income of the average family. In a National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education Center report, it was estimated that rising tuition was a mitigating factor in preventing approximately 250,000 prospective students from attaining higher education in the fall of 2003. The financial benefits of college: The benefits of college are clear; the more education, the greater ones income potential. Statistics show a dramatic difference in earning power with and without a college degree. According to the College Board, people with an undergraduate degree earn an average of 80 percent more than non-college graduates. This translates to more than $1,000,000 throughout a lifetime. In 2000, males 25 or older, with four or more years of college, had an average income of $60,449 compared with $32,494 for high school graduates of the same age. Females 25 or older, with four or more years of college, had an average income of $41,131 compared with $23,721 for high school graduates of the same age. Resources: If your children are nearing college age, you already know theres much to be done. From a financial perspective, if you have not already set aside money for college expenses, youll need to start thinking about other available resources to ensure your child gets the best possible education. Families can offset tuition bills by identifying and accessing scholarships and other resources. Look into financial aid. Scholarships, loans and other financial aids are available. No matter what your income, do not assume your child is ineligible for financial aid. In addition to need-based aid, some colleges offer scholarship to outstanding students regardless of need. In addition, there are private scholarships, sponsored by employers, clubs and religious groups. Families with college-aged students should be advised to begin looking for financial aid opportunities early on. The junior year of high school is not too early to start. Here are some helpful tips you may find useful. Start logging onto Web sites that provide scholarship guidance, such as: Scholarship America, National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators Web site, FinAidSmartStudent Guide, Dollars for Scholars Dollars for Scholars is a network of scholarship foundations based in communities throughout the United States. Chapters often coordinate local scholarships through a single application process. The AXA Foundation understands the challenges people face in sending their children to college and is doing its part to help close the gap between students and an affordable education. As the newest sponsor of National PTA, the Foundation provides a wealth of information to help students and parents navigate the road to higher education. Through its flagship program, AXA Achievementsm, the Foundation awards more than $1.3 million a year in scholarships throughout the nation. To learn more, visit College Board 2002; The Affordability of Higher Education, Public Agenda for the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, May 2002; U.S. Census Bureau; Money Income in the United States, 2000.Jeffrey Apps and Tracy Tutag offer securities and investment advisory services through AXA Advisors, LLC (member NASD, SIPC) 1290 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 212-314-4600 and offers annuity and insurance products through an insurance brokerage affiliate, AXA Network, LLC. Call 926-6911 or e-mail, Colorado

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