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Posted on Jan 25, 2012 - 06:00 AM | College Prep | Comments (1)

The Great Recession isn’t just making it more difficult for families to survive today, it’s affecting their future prospects, too. State budget cuts make a college education more difficult to achieve, forcing students to carry greater and greater debt.
 
Impact of state education budget cuts:
 
·        In the past year, states have cut their education budgets by 8%, or $6 billion. (Roughly half these cuts were produced by a cut in federal funding.)
·        41 states have cut their education budgets over the last 9 years. North Carolina cut it by 1%, New Hampshire by 41%.
·        California cut its education budget 26% in the past two years.
 
This is only K-12 funding, and does not include college funding. Three-quarters of states have cut their funding for public universities since 2002, driving up tuition at these once cheap alternatives to private colleges.
 
It’s not a pretty picture. So what can students do to improve their chances of a good education amid these budge cuts?
 
  1. Choose your own classes. Guidance counselors are overworked and understaffed. They can still help you get into the classes you choose, but you should walk into their office knowing which ones you need. Be more proactive. Have a plan.
  2. Research colleges, research careers. This is another longtime function of guidance counselors, but their reach is often limited to letting you do it online. With more than 4,000 colleges in this country and hundreds of careers to choose from, your research needs to be thorough. Get the best information possible.
  3. SAT prep. Consider expert help if you’re school isn’t preparing you properly for either the SAT or ACT entrance exams. Budget cuts sometimes leave schools with limited resources for SAT and ACT prep.
  4. Seek merit-based aid. Guidance counselors commonly suggest scholarships as a way to boost financial aid, but this system comes with plenty of traps. It’s an easy way to get you to do the work but doesn’t necessarily get you good merit-based aid. That’s a lot more complicated than simply searching for scholarships.
  5. Maximize grant money. Guidance counselors can’t typically help you here, particularly if their school forbids them to ask about family finances. They may answer some of your financial aid questions, but they can’t help you maximize your aid. Guidance counselors just don’t have the time to take on those extra assignments, even if they’re allowed to. Get every penny you deserve
 
State education budget cuts come in good times and bad; the Great Recession just makes it more noticeable and more severe. When the economy recovers, there’s no guarantee education funding will rebound. We may prefer austerity for years to come.
 
The United States has lofty education goals, but not the financial wherewithal to pay for it.  A failure to educate ourselves now may hurt our economy in the future. If you want a college degree that helps you get ahead, then you need to rely on yourself and your abilities. That’s the true nature of capitalism and the American way: pulling yourself up by your bootstraps
 
The reality of the American education system is that you can’t rely on the system alone to get ahead. You need to rely on yourself and any outside help you can get.
 
Find affordable ways to learn and prepare for college. States may have budget shortfall, but your education won’t come up short!
 
 

 
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Comments (1)


1. Hi, With regard to your statement, " In the past year, states have cut their education budgets by 8%, or $6 billion. (Roughly half these cuts were produced by a cut in federal funding.) · 41 states have cut their education budgets over the last 9 years. North Carolina cut it by 1%, New Hampshire by 41%. · California cut its education budget 26% in the past two years." We are looking for detailed year over year data on these cuts. Do you have any recommendations on where to get the aggregated data on these cuts? Sincerely, Chris

    Comment By Chris - Jan 30, 2012 7:13 AM


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