Surging college costs

The price on almost everything in this economy continues to sink to rock bottom — except for education.

The cost of a university degree continues to soar, with average 2009-2010 tuition at a four-year private university reaching $26,273. Public schools are lower with an average $7,020 for in-state students, which is a 6.5 percent increase from last year.

There is some good news in the figures released recently by the College Board College Board: Increased grant aid and tax benefits actually lowered the net price for full-time students by about $1,100 at private schools and $400 at public schools compared to five years ago.

But the high numbers still mean more and more students are either being strapped with debt, working to put themselves through school or putting off an education so they can earn some cash. Or, parents are scraping the bottom of savings accounts to foot the bill.

I don’t know about you, but these are daunting figures. When my daughter was born, we started a Utah Education Savings Plan for her in hopes of keeping some money earmarked for her education. But if prices continue on the current trend, there’s no way it will be enough for even one semester of school.

What is your plan for tackling college expenses? Will your kids be expected to chip in or pay their own way? Are you praying for a scholarship or looking into financial aid?

If you already have kids in college, what has worked for you? How much did cost factor into the decision of what school your child would attend?

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