Wondering how to pay for college? | AspenTimes.com

Wondering how to pay for college?

John Gardner
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

CARBONDALE ” College tuition is a lot like area real estate prices ” it keeps going up and there’s no end in sight.

Parents can expect the current cost of tuition to double ” twice ” by the time an infant today reaches college age. Carolyn Williams is offering help.

She isn’t handing out money, but offers something nearly as valuable ” good information on where to look for financial aid.

“I really want to help people understand the financial aid system in the state,” Williams said. “A lot of people are unaware of what is available out there.”

She’ll be offering her insights to parents of college-bound students on Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m. at 65 N. Fourth St., Carbondale, across from Town Hall. The workshop is free.

Williams worked as a college counselor at Colorado Rocky Mountain School in Carbondale, where she helped students apply for tuition assistance for a number of years. She worked in admissions at the boarding school and is also certified through the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. She has worked for years in helping students find financial aid when it appeared there was no hope at all.

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“Communication between the parents and students needs to begin much earlier,” Williams said.

Glenwood Springs High School counselor Wade Lewis said he prods students during their freshman year to start thinking about their college careers.

“We speak with the students about what they need to be thinking of in terms of courses and extracurricular activities they should be doing in order to have what colleges are looking for,” Lewis said.

It’s never too early to start thinking about how to pay for it, either, he added.

“We really want them to be thinking about it early,” Lewis said. “The idea is, the more information you get early on, the better you will be, come scholarship deadline.”

While many students choose public universities, Williams will also discuss how and where to look for financial assistance for private schools.

According to Williams, 98 percent of available funds for assistance comes directly from the schools themselves. The point she is drives home to parents is, be it a public or private university, there is money available for assistance, even if parents think their income level is too high to qualify for aid. Parents just need to know where to look and what to do in order to get assistance.

“They may qualify for more, or they may not qualify for as much as they thought,” Williams said. “But they can predict how much they will be responsible for earlier on.”

Wednesday’s workshop is the second in a series of college-admission related programs. Williams offered the first, “How parents can help their student,” in Aspen and Carbondale in October.