- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 10, 2002

College students nationwide are bracing for some of the biggest tuition increases in years.

While public college tuition has risen slightly more than 4 percent annually over the past five years, many colleges are predicting increases in the double digits this fall like the 19 percent increase forecast at the University of Iowa or the 20 percent increase for out-of-state students at the University of South Florida.

Private universities, like Vanderbilt, Notre Dame and Harvard, also are feeling the economic crunch.

Interest rates for federal student loans dropped last week to 4.06 percent, the lowest level in decades, but analysts said the number of loan applications wasn't likely to increase.

Instead, they said, students will turn to other sources of funds like independent scholarships and part-time employment.

"A much larger percentage [of students] are working now, whereas 20 years ago the traditional student came to campus and didn't work at all," said Dewey Holloman, director of undergraduate admissions at the University of South Florida. "I would say that more than 50 percent will end up working a job on or off campus."

Mr. Holloman said many students at the University of South Florida, where tuition is rising 5 percent for in-state students, choose the school based on its proximity to an urban job market.

"Students are choosing schools because of job availability," he said. "SF is located in the suburban area of Tampa. Students are attracted to that."

Jim Boland, a senior economics and math major at the University of Pennsylvania, said he works about 15 hours a week to help with college expenses.

More than half of his tuition, which will increase by 4.6 percent this fall, is funded by loans, grants and scholarships.

"I think that the most difficult thing about it is forgoing the limited amount of time left to relax between studying, activities and everything else," he said.

"Many students are working up to 35 hours a week," said Phyllis Hooyman, director of financial aid at Hope College in Holland, Mich. "When it starts affecting students' academic performance, that's when they go 'over the line.' That may be counterproductive."

Tuition at private colleges can strain the budgets of even wealthy families, said Ellen Brier, assistant dean for student affairs at Vanderbilt University's Peabody College.

"Vanderbilt does have students who worry about how they're going to pay for it all, and worry about how their parents are doing it," she said.

To help ease the pressures, students are taking more active roles in pursuing education funds, said Nancy Sninsky, director of financial aid at Washington and Jefferson College in Washington, Pa.

"They are doing the legwork and they're finding ways to defray the rising cost of college tuition without having to pay it back as they do with loans," she said.

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