Students include UCs in Plan Bs

Because of the current economic crisis, Naomi* has to apply for financial aid at every college she is applying to. Adrianna* is now considering University of California schools more heavily than she was before the financial recession. Tracy* has altered her college application plans because her parents are no longer willing to pay a private school tuition.

Adrianna’s father is a business owner whose business has been strongly affected by the turns of the economy and the plans of the new administration.

“I was always going to apply to the UC’s but seeing how quickly the economy could turn around, it made me realize it is more important that I get accepted to a good UC than it was before,” she said.

Ultimately, where Adrianna goes will depend on the economy in the spring and whether or not Congress passes the tax plan President-elect Barack Obama proposed, she said.

According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, the College Board released a report showing that the average price of college tuitions has risen 6 percent, and the economic crisis will only make this worse.

Tracy’s parents believe that, in the long run, it is more beneficial to go to a UC without taking out student loans.

Upper school financial aid officer Geoffrey Bird agrees.

“The cost of education is going to keep rising, and in a period of economic slowdown fewer people will be able to keep up with the increase,” he said.

Despite the economic turmoil, upper school dean Canh Oxelson hasn’t noticed a decrease in the number of colleges to which seniors are applying, as of now. However, this may change after Dec. 1, when final college lists are due.

“A few families have expressed some concern to me about paying for college during these difficult times,” Oxelson said.

“My parents will pay the equivalent of what they would pay for a UC for any other school that I want to go to, and then I have to get loans to pay for the rest,” Tracy said. “My parents don’t believe in state universities outside of California.”

Silver* is seriously considering the possibility of attending a community college, such as Santa Monica College and Pierce College. By going to a community college, Silver hopes to gain some basic college credits and later transfer to another school.

Mary Ann Doll (Mike Blum ’09), a college counselor who works at Palisades Charter High School, has noticed an increase in interest in the UCs and California State Universities.

“Generally, kids seem to be applying more to UCs and CalStates. It’s not just the cost of tuition [that is affecting students’ choices], but also the traveling expenses going from the east to west coast that add up,” Doll said.

In light of the financial rollercoaster, students are feeling more financially responsible, she said.

Although the current economic situation has caused distress among some families, Bird assures that there are financial options available to college-bound students. With private and government loans, student loans, need-based and merit scholarships and part-time jobs, students will be able to finance their college educations.