Time to relieve college tuition burden

As tuition costs continue to rise, many students are feeling the pressure to come up with ways to alleviate this burden. Some solutions include graduating early and applying for private scholarships while in school.

Unfortunately, many students are not aware of these possibilities and feel powerless to do anything about their tuition. As such, the most appropriate step would be for the administration to raise awareness of the opportunities to decrease the cost for students.

For instance, many people who bring credits from high school, either through dual enrollment or the Advanced Placement program, may be able to graduate a semester or even a year early. Almost no advice, however, is given on graduating early. So many students, especially those on the fence about it, feel left out of the loop.

Additionally, most students prepare for employment during their senior or junior year, so those who graduate early may feel  unprepared for the working world. The university should be doing more to explicitly offer the opportunity.

Interestingly, graduating in the fifth year has been talked about more than graduating in the third. The recently-approved Plus One program, which provides a full year free to students who are accepted, is a step in the right direction.

The appropriate follow-up would then be to create a program (not necessarily with a scholarship) that guides students through the process of preparing them to graduate and be ready for working full time or attending graduate school.

For students who didn’t come in with extra credits, opportunities still exist, though they need to be both improved upon and publicized.

Plenty of outside, private scholarships exist, but many students aren’t aware of this. There already exists a dedicated Office for Prestigious Awards, which passes opportunities down to qualified students. There should be something similar for awards that are comprehensive. Therefore, students who want to augment their financial aid profile would know where to look.

Additionally, employment opportunities should be augmented. A piecemeal system exists for students to work on campus. Yet, while it is reasonably effective, it could be so much more.

One problem is that the learning experience in college isn’t always useful for the careers in the real world. A potential option to improve this would be to get local companies involved. Employers would hire students as part-time interns, who would be granted additional aid toward their tuition, as an extended work-study program of sorts. In fact, if students are going to spend part of their learning years working, they can pick up skills related to what they want to be doing in the future while studying at school.

The high cost of tuition may be stifling, but it should not be suffocating. There are opportunities, but they seem insufficient and unknown to students. If the administration can increase awareness for things like early graduation, private scholarships, and work study and expand them in meaningful ways, students could focus much more on their studies than on how they will pay for them.

Editorials represent the majority view of  The Miami Hurricane editorial board.