American Consumer Credit Counseling delivers new guidance on dealing with college tuition.
Boston, MA – March 30, 2023
The golden age of the American college experience may have finally passed, as enrollment in higher education continues to decline. But even as more individuals and families are opting out from the cost of college, the challenge of footing the bill is still very real for the roughly 18 million students enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities.
National nonprofit American Consumer Credit Counseling, Inc (ACCC) is delivering guidance and strategies to more and more clients and others who are facing the daunting task of financing a college education.
“The decline we are seeing in U.S. college enrollment is a sure indicator that the cost of higher education is forcing many individuals and families to look hard at other pathways to the American Dream,” said Allen Amadin, President and CEO of American Consumer Credit Counseling. “The biggest financial challenges require good strategies and solutions, and the demand we are experiencing for college financing advice is skyrocketing.”
U.S. college enrollment has dropped from 21 million in 2010 to a little more than 18 million in 2021, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. The college debt crisis in America is now a $1.7 trillion problem impacting 45 million people. About 13 percent of all Americans had federal student loan debt in 2021.
Here are several steps and strategies for planning ahead and being prepared to deal with the challenge of paying for college:
- Create a budget: Creating a higher education budget is the first step to knowing where more financial support is needed. A budget can be created by putting together all of your expenses such as tuition, books, room and board, and transportation during a determined period of time. A college cost calculatorcan help determine the total costs associated with your college education in order to create an accurate and realistic budget.
- Get an early jump on the FAFSA: The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is one of the most important early steps in developing a college funding plan. The FAFSA is the starting point for accessing financial aid. It unlocks potential access to federal grants, work-study opportunities, student loans, and state and school-based aid. The earlier you file the better. Many schools award aid in order of who files the FAFSA earliest.
- Go hunting for scholarships and grants: Applying for financial aid is important because in addition to providing loans, applicants may also be awardedgrants which is money that does not have to be paid back. Another option is to apply for scholarships outside of the college you are applying to. There are several search platforms which help identify scholarships you are eligible for.
- Consider lower-cost alternatives: Many colleges allow core classes or entry level course work to be taken during summer or winter breaks at lower-cost community colleges or through online options. This can help reduce the total cost of tuition.
The U.S. is one of the most expensive countries to attend college, leaving many students to rely at least partially on higher education loans. According to an analysis by the think tank Urban Institute, 70 percent of students who receive a bachelor’s degree have education debt by the time they graduate. The average annual cost to attend college in the U.S. is now approximately $35,000 per year, according to the Education Data Initiative.
About American Consumer Credit Counseling
American Consumer Credit Counseling, Inc is a non-profit 501(c)(3) credit counseling organization that is dedicated to helping consumers achieve financial management through various debt solutions, such as credit counseling, debt management, bankruptcy counseling, housing counseling, student loan counseling, and financial education. With the goal of empowering consumers to reach debt relief, ACCC provides a wide range of free personal finance resources that cover topics such as budgeting, credit and debt management, student loan assistance, homeownership, identity theft, senior living, and retirement. By using ACCC’s tools, such as worksheets, videos, calculators, and blog articles, consumers can make informed decisions about their financial future. ACCC has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®). To learn more about ACCC or to access their free financial education resources, visit ConsumerCredit.com.