The Missing Piece

September 22, 2009

The Reality Check: a look at paying for college

Filed under: Global education, cross-culture, communication advice — chezalphabooks @ 2:17 pm
How many times have I heard a student insist they want to study in US, Canada or the UK and then state with great authority that they can afford to pay 6,000 dollars per year.  Here is an update. 
 Realistically, 6,000 dollars per year will barely cover the cost of housing not to mention tuition, books, clothes, transport, and student insurance.
When it comes to college at home or abroad, to keep moving forward, many of us must adjust our goals and select programs we can afford. 
[Photo: Know How 2Go Ohio]
Here are three ways to think about the reality of your school selection. 
 
First: Be willing to search for alternative study options even if that means staying in your own country.  Look around and see there are numerous successful people in your country. Ask them where did they study and you may find many of them did not go abroad. Perhaps they wanted to but could not afford it or their parents did not support the idea.  With an open mind, begin to look seriously at study options at home or in a neighboring country.  Take note, the streets of New York are filled with immigrant taxi drivers.  Ask them how they came to America and over 50 percent will tell you they came to study and ran out of money. Many did not have the money to fund four years of college when they arrived.
Second: Be creative in reviewing your options.  When money is the biggest issue a student must be willing to take different paths. If you visit China, Malaysia, Singapore, or Oman, for example, you will find good students from various African countries. However, students from Francophone countries tend to focus on the big three destinations: US, France or Canada.  These countries are excellent options if you can afford them!  But if you do not have the money then begin to get out there and find a good program you can afford elsewhere.  Believe me in 2009 with an emphasis on globalization there are excellent and affordable programs on all seven continents. 
 
Third: If someone is sponsoring your education be clear about how much they can afford to pay and if they are serious.  If your uncle says he will help with your college fees, he may be thinking he will contribute 2,000 dollars a year.   You may assume he will pay up to 10,000 dollars a year.   At this point, you have a serious communication breakdown.  Your parent or sponsor who says they are willing to help with your education must also be willing to provide various official documents such as bank statements and in some cases, a copy of their work contract. Make  sure you and your sponsor are able to provide bank-statement-proof of your income and financial status.
Students around the world diversify their educational dreams every day.  Some students realize after finishing secondary school they must work one year to raise more money for college.  Students who want to start immediately at a bigger more expensive university decide to begin at a two year college that is much less expensive.  Some students choose to study part time and work at the same time. 
However, as you work your way through that reality check, the important thing to remember is that even when a dream has been adjusted it can still be achieved.
–Angela Franklin
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