College Tuition Rises by 40% Over 10 Years - Arkansas State Programs Help Off-Set Increases

October 28, 2003 -- Posted at 11:15pm

JONESBORO, AR - Choosing a college, the military or a trade is one of the first 'big' decisions a high school students has to make. That selection was made a little easier Tuesday night for seniors who attended Craighead County College Fair at the ASU Convocation Center.

"I want to be an athletic trainer," said Amber Chitwood. Sports medicine is her first choice. Journalism is second.

If she stays in-state and attends Arkansas State University, Chitwood's parents can expect to pay $11,888 for tuition during her 4 years there, but the cost will be much higher when her younger sibling arrives on campus. That's because average tuition costs at United States universities has increased by 40% over the last 10 years. Assuming tuition will increase by 5% annually, Chitwood's parents will pay $21,908 for the same education 10 years later. There are federal and state funds in place to help off-set those costs each year.

"Education is one of the ways that people can move themselves up economically, so we do have the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship Program, which provides up to $3,000 of scholarship funds," said Lillian Williams, employee of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education.

Amanda Chitwood wants to attend either Middle Tennessee State University or Lambuth University. Both institutions are in Tennessee, which means higher tuition costs.

Terra Jachson, Chitwood's mother, said, "If we can swing it, that would be fine with us. I know there's a lot more opportunity for the field that she's interested in."

Applications for financial aid will be accepted beginning in January at most colleges.