College tuition prices just keep going up, and many students are struggling to make ends meet.
"I think it's kind of ridiculous how much we have to pay in order to get a higher education," says college sophomore Jen Locastro, who works 30-35 hours a week at a grocery store to help pay the bills.
"It's tough with scholarships," says college sophomore Alex Constantino. "Schools don't give out as much money anymore."
Using college and university websites and collegeview.com, CNYCentral is taking a look at what some Central New York colleges will cost in the coming year. Here's a look at a few of them:
Syracuse University's tuition for the 2012-2013 school year is $37,610. That's up from $36,300 for the 2011-2012 school year.
Tuition for Le Moyne College for the 2012-2013 school year is listed at $28,470. That's up from $27,390 for the 2011-2012 school year.
SUNY Cortland's expected tuition for the 2012-2013 school year for in-state residents is $5,570. In the 2011-2012 school year, it was $5,270.
Onondaga Community College's tuition for the 2012-2013 school year is $4,050, up from $3,930 last year.
While these numbers may seem daunting, financial aid experts say students have a lot of options to help them pay for their dream school.
Bill Cheetham, Director of Financial Aid at Le Moyne College, says students should talk to their parents about how to pay for college as early as possible. He says it's always a good idea to apply for financial aid, even if you don't think you'll receive any. Let the school make the decision about whether you qualify.
Cheetham says strong, well-rounded students often receive merit aid or scholarships. They can also receive outside scholarships by checking free
websites like fastweb.com.
Cheetham says even if a student's financial aid package isn't what he or she hoped for, that student shouldn't give up.
He says they can look for outside sources of funding, take out loans, or spend two years at a less expensive school and then transfer.
"I think the cost sometimes blinds us to the idea of really looking at all the options," says Cheetham. "We've got to be careful not to do that because higher education is still one of the best investments that a student can make for their long term job and career."
What do you think about the price of college these days? Have you had to make a difficult choice about where to go to school based on financial concerns? Post your comments below.