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Consider the financial implications of attending your dream college


Thursday, January 31, 2013

Many high school seniors send applications to their "dream colleges" in the hopes of gaining admission to the finest postsecondary schools in the country. While only a small percentage of these students will gain admission to these highly selective schools, any high school senior who is considering one of the country's top colleges as his or her first choice should be aware of the financial implications of this decision, according to USA Today.

A costly decision
There is little doubt that graduating with a degree from a leading college or university can be a valuable addition to an individual's résumé. However, the news source reports that some students who opt to pursue their degree at the best colleges are left with substantial amounts of student debt when they graduate.

Rachel Sweeden is one such student. Sweeden, who is 19 years old and works as a nanny in New York City, decided against accepting a full-tuition offer at Butler University in Indianapolis to attend New York University (NYU). She believes that earning a degree from a prestigious college such as NYU will help her in the long run. However, by the time she graduates, her student debt will total around $150,000.

"I have faith that getting an NYU degree will be worth it in the long run," Sweeden told the news source. "I would definitely say that an NYU diploma is worth more."

A familiar situation
Sweeden's situation is far from unique. Many students are faced with the prospect of balancing their choice of school with the ever-increasing rise in the cost of earning a college education. Some students, such as Sweeden, feel their choice will pay off in the long run. Others, however, are forced to examine the financial realities of their decision and choose a college appropriately.

According to recent data from the University of California, Los Angeles' Higher Education Research Institute, more than 66 percent of freshmen cited the current economic situation as a significant factor in where they choose to go to college. Additionally, the availability of student aid programs such as grants and scholarships was seen as an increasingly important factor by many college-bound individuals.

While attending a prestigious university can be a valuable investment in the future, students should consider the financial ramifications of their choice before making any decisions.

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