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Teen Article: Weighing the Cost of College Tuition12/30/2015

SLFCU Member Will Save Money by Staying in New Mexico

Sierra Robinson is a senior at Eldorado High School in Albuquerque and the first winner of SLFCU’s teen article competition.Teen Article: Weighing the Cost of College Tuition

I’ve long since arrived at that point in my high school career where grown-ups begin inquiring about my plans for college. It became constant early in my junior year, though there has always been some pretense of the question, a thought hugging the shadows cast by my above-average grades. “Where are you going to college?” The question was never a matter of if I go, since college seems like the only directional step once I complete high school. Almost devoutly I am asked by pondering parents and peers, “Where are you thinking about going to college?”

I’ve spent the last year buzzing across the country, touring this college and peeking at that campus. As a student whose ambition lies in fine arts, I was sure to circuit schools that focused solely on the arts, like Cornish College of the Arts (Seattle, WA) and Santa Fe University of Art and Design. I’ve come across some absolutely gorgeous libraries, wandered around a tantalizingly historic ceramics building (a World War II bunker!), and fallen in love with campuses and professors all around. It is so easy to find aspects to love at every school.

Yet, my choice doesn’t hinge on the fact that the University of Washington is in my birth city or that I adore the weather there. While Savannah College of Art and Design caters to my artistic sensibilities, that isn’t the prevailing factor either. These things matter a lot, of course, since I wouldn’t attend a school that I am unhappy with. But something very important I have to consider, before location and campus and professors, is the price tag.

My dad has been saving for tuition for my brother and me since we were infants, yet with the ever-rising cost of attending university, money is a limiting factor. According to CollegeBoard, average out-of-state public tuition costs around $23,000 a year, not including the arm and leg for housing, food, textbooks, and transportation!

I can’t very well go somewhere I can’t afford, so I have made at least the first part of my big choice – I will be staying in state. In-state tuition averages considerably less – $9,000 a year. Another bundle can be saved on housing, since many in-state students choose to live at home. So in addition to being eligible for in-state tuition costs and scholarships, I will save on travel costs when going home for a holiday.

I would not deter anyone from going to their dream school on these accounts, but I would encourage future undergraduates to contemplate the perks of going to college in their own home state before making their decision.

By Sierra Robinson, SLFCU Member

Articles by SLFCU Teens

SLFCU members age 13-17 are invited to submit an article on a financial topic to be considered for publication in our Dollars & Sense newsletter and on SLFCU will award teens $100 for published articles. Learn more and submit an article.


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