It's no secret that financing a college education is getting tougher. College costs have skyrocketed over the past decade or so, and there's no relief in sight. Average tuition at four-year colleges will increase 7 percent this school year, double the rate of inflation. Student aid is not increasing fast enough to plug the growing gap between tuition and family finances. In addition, there is a growing number of older students entering college today. These students have families that they need to support. I know, because I am a family man who has returned to school. I wish to finish my degree at the Rochester Institute of Technology. The only problems I face are financial in nature. It is with this in mind that I set about this research. The not so simple question: Is financial aid available to older students, and if so, how do they go about obtaining it?
The Cost Of Education
The cost of higher education varies by type of institution.
Tuition is highest at private 4-year institutions, and lowest at public 2-year institutions. The private 4-year colleges nearly quadrupled their average tuition rates between 1975 and 1996. For private 4-year colleges, tuition and fees for the 1995-96 academic year averaged about $15,400, compared with about
$5006 at public 4-year colleges. The cost of attending an institution of higher education includes not only tuition and fees, however, but also books and supplies, transportation, personal expenses and, sometimes, room and board.
Although tuition and fees generally are substantially lower at public institutions than at private ones, the other student costs are about the same.
According to MS-Encarta94,"the average cost for tuition, fees, and room and board for the 1995-96 academic year at private 4-year colleges was about $20,165.
At public 4-year colleges the average combined cost was about $9290" (Encarta94).
The cost of attending RIT is approximately $15700 per year. This does not