Students rely on scholarships, loans to pay tuition

Story and Photos by ARMIN HAMZA

Tuition increases have forced current and future college students to worry about their future plans in higher education. However, many say if funds from financial aid or student loans continue to be available they won’t have to worry about the tuition increase as much as anticipated.

Students study in the communication building.

According to finaid.org, tuition prices have been increasing nationally by an average of 7 percent since 1958. This statistic shows that students who decide to go to on for higher education must face the fact that their tuition will likely continue to increase until they graduate. Either way, the funds to pay for college must come from somewhere.

“I’m not worried too much about the tuition hike as long as I have the money available from financial aid or students loans to pay for it,”  Steve Christiansen, a student at Salt Lake Community College said.

According to Higher Education Utah, an informational website by the Utah System of Higher Education, the reason why these funds are available to students is because in 2010, the Governor and legislature prevented additional large cuts to higher education making it possible for institutions to accommodate student enrollments.

Students that transfer from private schools, where education often costs three to four times more than public schools, say they won’t have to worry about the tuition increase because they are paying now less than before. One example would be Westminster College versus the University of Utah.

“Transfer students from Westminster College usually transfer because of the enormous cost difference and that is the biggest reason why I transferred,” Matt Smith, who transferred from Westminster College to the University of  Utah, said.

On the other hand, students that transfer from a community college or other public schools, usually transfer to continue their education.

“I am transferring to the University of Utah because I want to get a better education and also with a mind set that the money will be available,” Adrianna Osorio, who is currently attending Salt Lake Community College, said.

There are generally two different motivation aspects for students: money and the quality of education. Some people would argue which one of those two is more important.

“I believe the quality of education is always the most important aspect, but if the money is not available to the student to get that desired quality of education then of course the student must consider the money aspect,” Chris Morgan, a graduate student at Westminster College, said.

Students such as Chris Morgan understand the importance of the quality of education, but is quality of education really important when students do not have the money to pay for it?

“When I  enrolled at Westminster College I knew how much I would have to pay, but I also knew that I wouldn’t be able to attend Westminster College without financial aid or student loans,” Morgan said.

According to Osorio, the majority of students she knows pay for their tuition through financial aid, or student loans. “That is the only way that I can go to school, otherwise I would be working two jobs,” Osorio said, adding that, “paying this way never really gives the student an idea how much tuition costs.”

Students expressed concerns about the tuition increase, but they believe as long as the aid money continues to be available, they will continue to enroll into college.

According to Higher Education Utah, student enrollment has increased by 6,389 full-time equivalent students, an increase of 6.2 percent over the past semesters –  another sign students are putting aside worries about tuition increases to continue their education.

According to Christiansen, to have a better future financially or economically these days, a better education is necessary.

“Us students don’t really have an option when it comes to paying for school and in order to have a better future we must go to school, no matter how much it costs, so all we can count on is financial aid or student loans,” Christiansen said.