College Tuition Rises Faster than Financial Aid. How Can Students Afford College?

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These days, attending college or university has become all but required. Gone are the days of a stable income job with just a high school degree. Now, a college degree is necessary for even basic entry-level, 9-5 jobs. The number of employers that require a bachelor’s degree or higher has increased, even while the national minimum wage hasn’t. With the rising necessity of a degree, the number of applicants to colleges has increased as well. But more meteoric and less regulated than the increase in applicants is the rising tuition and cost of attendance at each school.

Colleges and universities increase tuition every single year, and this isn’t a recent trend. In fact, the total average cost of attendance including tuition, fees, and room and board was only $18,876 in 1980, but it has risen to a staggering $49,870 per year. Some private schools’ cost of tuition with room and board topple over $70,000. College tuition is rising, but the financial aid capabilities of schools aren’t rising quickly enough with it. So, in a time when college is more expensive than it has ever been, how can students afford college? Can they pay for it without taking out extensive loans?

These are the same questions that Kukhon Uddin Bobby had when he came to the United States years ago. After gaining his degree in Biomedical Engineering from Columbia University, Bobby wondered how he could help other students do the same thing – and at an affordable cost rather than an obscene one. Finding that there were not many reliable centers that could help students afford college, Bobby decided to open Bobby-Tariq Tutoring Center with his two younger brothers. While the test prep company specializes SAT Prep, their college admissions counselling program has been going strong for years.

The college application program has a number of important overarching goals, two of which are to help their students gain admissions to top colleges and be able to afford them. While the cost of attendance is undoubtedly rising not only in the United States but all around the world, Bobby-Tariq is dedicated to helping its students gain the most maximal amount in scholarships and grants so that they can avoid backbreaking student loans that take years and years to pay off. Over the course of the last ten years, Bobby and his brothers have aided thousands of students get into the colleges of their dreams, with a special focus on the financial aid application component of the process.

According to founder and CEO Bobby, “Although college becomes more and more expensive every single year, I encourage my students who come from low socioeconomic backgrounds to still apply to the best schools. Why? Finances should not play a factor in education, and that is the bottom line. I tell my students that if the school is really the right fit, they will be able to attend because the school will invest in them with merit-based scholarships and grants.”

Since most students lack knowledge about the financial aspect of college applications, the company helps students fill out all of the lengthy paperwork that makes the process so arduous. Firstly, students must fill out the Federal Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) form online, in order to qualify them for federal aid, namely in the form of the National Pell Grant. Because this is a grant, this money does not need to be repaid and can be used to finance a student’s education. Students should also fill out statewide applications for financial aid. In New York state, the means filling out the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) application online. These forms help the government get a clearer picture of the financial status of a student’s family, and thereby offer more suitable aid to students.

According to President Tariq Hussain, though, “Each year, students can only receive up to a maximum of $10,000. So, while filling out these applications is vital, students must remember that it isn’t all they should be doing in the way of applying for financial aid. After all, there are no colleges that cost only $10,000 a year in the year 2020.” Since the cost of attendance at a college typically topples over to $50,000 a year, students must find a way to bridge the gap between federal and state aid and the institution’s tuition costs. 

This is where the CSS Profile comes in. Created by the College Board, the same organization that holds the SAT every year, the CSS Profile is an even longer and more detailed picture of a student’s finances that colleges can use to determine how much aid they are willing to provide. A low-income student, for example, might have a 4.0 GPA and a 1600 SAT, but if the college is unable to bridge the gap between financial aid and tuition, this brilliant student will remain unable to attend.

Students have many options these days when it comes to attending college, and the best thing that they can do is to follow the money. According to Vice President Sakib Hussain, “students should not be spending an insane amount of money on their undergraduate careers, especially if they are looking to pursue professional degrees. Someone who plans to attend medical school should not be paying $70,000 per year for an undergraduate education as they will soon amass an even larger amount of medical school debt. So, students should attend the institution that provides them with the largest amount of merit-based scholarships.

Bobby, Tariq, and Sakib have spent years trying to help students gain these large merit-based scholarships with their college application program, and they’ve successfully gotten their students into many top colleges in New York City such as New York University with full rides. Now that attending college and even graduate school has become so crucial for a student’s success in the workforce, it is necessary that students take all the steps to ensure that they aren’t swallowed up by student loans and debt. People like these three brothers are helping them do just that.