For decades, college tuitions have been on the rise. This year alone, the average tuition and fees at a public, 4-year university will set you back at least $4,000. That's nearly 10% more than just last year.
The holidays are over and college campuses across the country are springing back to life. While most will have a chance to ease back into the daily grind, the financial aide office is working at full speed.
At Tyler Junior College long lines greet students looking to shore up money to pay for the spring semester. Financial Aid Director Devon Wiggins said, there is a reason for those lines.
"I think overall, our trend is tuition costs are increasing and students are needing more help in meeting the costs they are going to incur when they come to college," she said.
According to the non-profit group "College Board" over the ten-year period ending in 2002-2003, after adjusting for inflation, the average tuition and fees at both public and private four-year colleges and universities rose 38%.
Over the last 22 years, the cost of a public four-year college education has increased 202%, while the consumer price index, which measures the price of inflation, has gone up only 80%.
Advisors said the first step in getting financial aid, is filling out a FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
In student Nayawiyyanh Choice's case, it could lead to money she needs.
"I'm filling out for Pell Grants, loans, whatever that I'm able to qualify for to pay for my education," she said.
As a single mother, she hopes the help now will pay off in the future.
"I value going to school because I know it will benefit me in the long run as far as my children as well."
Judging by the lines outside TJC's Financial Aid Office, many others feel the same way.
The Federal Government is devoting about $65 billion in direct financial aid to students this year alone. Financial aid advisors say the next three months are the very best time to sign up for federal financial aid for next year.
That starts with the FAFSA which you can pick up at most high schools and colleges. Or you can fill out the form online by clicking on the link below.
Chris Gibson, reporting