While the price of earning a four-year degree has risen steadily for the past several decades, much exaggeration and misinformation have entered into discussions about the financial aspects of higher education. Some of the most common falsehoods are related to scholarships, student loans, the affordability of degrees, and how much costs vary among institutions. Here are the top myths currently making the rounds and facts to debunk each one.
Scholarships Are Hard to Find
There are hundreds of opportunities for applicants who know where and how to search. In the internet age, it's easier than ever to conduct a massive search for available scholarships. Several top-rated platforms and websites exist where interested students and parents can conduct in-depth searches for opportunities and awards in dozens of fields. A generation ago, finding all the scholarship money for which a person was eligible was tough. But the power of the digital era is an amazing and helpful thing. Prospective students can uncover multiple opportunities and apply immediately, all from a single web page.
Student Loan Terms Never Change
Thousands of college graduates refinance their school loans yearly to cut monthly payments. Even when scholarship recipients borrow to cover the remaining college expenses, it makes sense for graduates to refinance loans to get lower monthly payments. Fortunately, once people begin working, their credit scores tend to rise accordingly. After that, when they choose to refinance their education debt, they can cut payments by a substantial amount, get more time to repay the entire balance, and potentially reduce the interest rate simultaneously. Loan terms don't change on their own, however. The borrower must take the first step by finding out how to refinance.
Few Can Afford to Get a Degree
Millions are attending four-year programs, and there are multiple ways to pay the bills. There's no denying that the price of a diploma has risen substantially over the past 50 years. But with the widespread availability of loans and scholarships, young people and working adults who want degrees are finding ways to cover the bills. Some of the most popular methods for financing include work-study, taking online courses, applying for as many scholarships as possible, borrowing, and using family savings.
Costs Don't Vary Much Among Schools
The total bill for a four-year degree varies wildly from school to school. The difference in the total price of a degree between a top-ranked university and a state school is massive. Pupils who attend a community college for two years and then finish at a local state-sponsored institution pay about one-tenth what it costs to attend a major university.
Only Straight-A Students Can Get Scholarships
Only a small percentage of awards are based on academic performance. Most scholarships go to those who are not academic stars. Instead, awards are handed out to applicants based on their intended majors, personal interests, and financial needs.