year, the increase in college tuition has brought the gap between
income and college costs to an all time high, leaving more families
assessing the different types of financial assistance available
and worried about how they will help to provide a future for their
The country has been moving in this direction for several years.
At a senate hearing three years ago, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT)
criticized escalating college tuition, noting that it had more than
doubled at both public and private schools over the past twenty
years. He also noted that four-year college tuition increased and
average of more than 110 percent over inflation since the 80s.
Middle-class families in particular complain about the lack of resources
available to them and the economic crunch they are placed in. In
a Washington DC poll taken in October of 1999, 63 percent of Americans
with school-age children worried excessively about the cost of attending
It is the middle class that suffers most, said Naima
Mtu, a graduate of Cornell University. The government needs to evaluate
each condition more thoroughly, Mtu added.
I am paying an average of $32,000 a year
the only thing
that was available to me was loans, said Joy Traiwoe, the
mother of an undergraduate at Fordham University. That is
how it is for most middle class families
they are not providing
middle class families with the funds that they need.
Even though a family may be considered middle class, they may have
other children who have just been through college or children who
are approaching college age, making it hard for them to afford the
college tuition without help from the government.
While some families get zero or little help from the government,
others receive a substantial amount through federal grants.
I was able to get enough grants to cover her tuition,
said Lynette Robinson, about her daughter attending Fordham University.
She also has another daughter on her way to college.
It is a lot of work
(I) approach it with a positive attitude,
said Robinson, who received most of her financial assistance through
private foundations. You need it all, federal and private.
For undergraduate I received a lot of financial assistance
paid for about 30 percent of the tuition, while the government paid
most of the rest, said Mtu, who went through private foundations
and the federal government to pay for an education at Cornell University.
In the year 2000, colleges, federal and state governments reported
providing a record of $68 billion in student aid. Before leaving
office, Clinton instituted a list of initiatives to help families
better afford college. This list included a loan forgiveness program,
an interest rate reduction, and an interest rebate.
Many agree that there should be changes in the federal system. There
should be a cap on tuition. It is increasingly growing. This is
a country that believes in literacy, yet, it makes it makes tuition
it is promoting illiteracy, said Traiwoe.
They need to give tax breaks
they need to allow families
to write off the tuition on their income tax, said Twaiwoe.
While there are mixed reviews about the amount of financial assistance
available, may agree that the process is strenuous and also that
the sooner, the better, because the more effort one
puts out, the more of a positive outcome they will receive.