Financial aid limbo

Price is always a hush-hush topic while going through the college selection process. I have been told by counselors and teachers that I should not consider price as an issue, but I cannot believe that to be so.I am already feeling the burden of college costs and I am not even attending college yet. I have already spent nearly $600 on AP, SAT and ACT tests and the applications themselves, which is only the price to be considered for admittance. Still, there are others who have spent much more than me. While there are fee waivers available to help offset these costs, my family, like numerous other middle class families, does not qualify. So what are the middle class families to do? We can either lie on the applications, make sacrifices to pay for these expenses, or opt out of the tests and fees, ultimately leading to giving up the dream of going to a four-year university. Some of my classmates have actually told me that they have lied on their forms in order to receive fee waivers and other educational-related price cuts. It seems outrageous to me that a state that is considering cutting the school year short due to budget deficits would let things like this slip by. Even more importantly, the tuition at a private university can cost, on average, $50,000 a year. These colleges offer great financial aid packages to low-income students. However, it seems as if low-income is code for near poverty. The average middle class family that is living paycheck to paycheck is left in the dark as to how they will finance higher education. It seems there is only room at these universities for the extremely rich or the extremely poor. I wish it were not this way because I have been working very hard throughout high school to receive exceptional grades and am now left to wonder if I will even be offered any financial aid. I feel like any little thing that my family has done to get ahead has hurt me in my chances of receiving financial aid. Taking responsibility and attempting to save money for college will count against my chances for receiving aid. It is disappointing to know that other families that have chosen to be irresponsible and careless about financing college will receive more aid. This just provides an incentive to let the government, which has enough debt as it is, to take care of you. ********** Published: January 16, 2009 - Volume 7 - Issue 39