Study finds more college students seeking financial aid

By Lauren Payne - bio | email feedback

POCAHONTAS, AR (KAIT) "That's the first thing that crosses everyone's mind is how am I going to pay," said Black River Technical College student, Jessica Rainwater.

Rainwater says for her, the decision to attend this two-year college made good economical sense.

"As far as like financial aid and stuff goes, it's a lot easier to get financial aid that covers Black River, rather than a four-year college--because it's a lot cheaper," said Rainwater.

"2078 students or 82.9 percent of the student population are receiving some sort of financial aid assistance," said Dr. Michael Sullens, in BRTC's Student Affairs office.

Nationwide, many colleges continue to raise tuition, leading more people turning to financial aid for help paying for higher education, according to a college board's report.

"As far as the loans go, we're seeing the numbers increase and I think that because of that they are using this to offset living expenses because of the hard times right now," said Dr. Sullens.

The report also says community colleges educate about 40 percent of college students, citing affordability as one reason.

Dr. Sullens adds BRTC's ability to offer general education and technical training also gives them a leg up in the area.

"We are still out there meeting the demand of the population in the area," said Dr. Sullens.

For Delaplaine native and student Jessica Rainwater, she's taking this education opportunity now, hoping it will pay off later.

"There are no factory jobs, there are just no jobs period, you have to have a higher education," said Rainwater.

Dr. Sullens says at BRTC they didn't raise tuition, but did raise fees from 3 dollars to 12 dollars. Sullens says with the increase in students, there was an increased use of things like paper, toner, and other maintenance and housekeeping needs that needed to be met due to higher enrollment numbers and more people using equipment.

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