Working through college still not enough to cover high cost

A new survey by Citigroup and Seventeen Magazine reveals that while many college students are paying for most of their expenses, just a handful of students are able manage the burden of high tuition cost.

According to the survey, only 18 percent of students pay their way through college. The rest? 41 percent of students in the survey reported relying on financial aid – which includes student loans - to pay for their education, 16 percent of students said they finance their education through scholarships, and only 22 percent reported that their parents pick up the tab. On the other hand, 60 percent of respondents said their parent did, however, pay their monthly cell phone bill.

Not surprising, as college tuition has risen faster than both the median family income and the rate of inflation. Families just can’t keep up with the escalating cost of college.

According to the survey, nearly 4 out of 5 students work while in school, and foot the bill for many of their own college-related living expenses. However, aside from paying for things like clothes, housing, transportation, books and food, many are still unable to afford the high price tag attached to a college degree.

Low-income students, who are more likely to work long hours, are even worse off. After scholarships and grant aid are counted, the lowest income students must find a way to come up with an amount equivalent to roughly three-quarters of their annual family income just to pay for one year at a four-year college.

The Citi/Seventeen survey reminds us that students are working hard while in school, but they and their families are still unable to pick up the tab for the high cost of college. The Huffington Post review of the survey points out that “despite the large cost of a higher education, 94 percent of respondents believe college is a good investment.”

And it is. College educated adults simply earn more, and a college-educated society benefits everyone.