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How Will You Pay For College?

October 9, 2008

Many of the teens sleeping out on November 1 are planning to attend college in the future. And many of those same teens are lucky enough to have parents who can afford to send them to college or at least help them find a way to afford to attend college. But what if you knew there was no chance for you to go to college? Your world of opportunities would look very different.

According to CNNMoney.com for the last 20 years, colleges and universities across America have been raising the cost of tuition at a faster rate than the costs have risen on any other major product or service – four times faster than the overall inflation rate and faster even than increases in the price of gasoline or health care. Unbelievably the price for college has skyrocketed 439% since 1982.

A family with at least one strong income can barely afford to send their child or children to college. It’s impossible to think someone that is homeless could afford college. We are happy to report that Bridge Communities was able to award five scholarships last July to help with tuition costs for five different kids to go to college. Bridge understands the importance of keeping teens’ dreams alive and allowing them the opportunities to succeed.

For many of those other homeless families who couldn’t obtain a scholarship, their teens will need to help with the family income by finding a job. That job will most likely earn them a minimum wage. If you worked 40 hours a week on minimum wage (federal minimum wage is $5.85 per hour) you would earn $12,168 for the year, before taxes. You still couldn’t afford the rent of a basic apartment in DuPage County. If you did have just enough for rent, there would be nothing left for food, clothes and the list goes on. One of the first questions Bridge counselors ask their homeless client: “how can we increase your skill level with education so you can earn a higher salary which will allow you to afford your basic living expenses?”

The message here is to stay in school and do well in your studies. Learn as much as you can so you can continue on to college. That college diploma will open up all sorts of new opportunities for you to work and earn a salary that will afford a house, a car, food and clothes. According to CollegeRecruiter.com, college graduates who majored in marketing are starting at an average salary of $41,300; accounting majors are averaging $47,700 their first year; those majoring in computer science landing their first job can expect to start at $51,000. Well worth the investment of working hard in school!

Stay and school, do well, and invest in your future.

Visit www.sleepoutsaturday.org to learn more about Bridge Communities and what Sleep Out Saturday is all about!

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