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  • May 28Track runner Jackson Morris qualified for the state tournament this week at Liberty University.
  • May 28Boys tennis player Jamison Wallace won the individual boys regional title for the second year in a row. He competes in the state tournament this week.
  • May 28Softball plays in the regional semifinals Tuesday v. Atlee at home at 5pm. If you are able, come out and see them play
  • May 28Girls Lacrosse lost a heartbreaking regional final 14-13 to Hanover Friday. They play at Rockbridge in the state quarterfinals on Friday
  • May 23Congrats to Girls Lax for going to States for the 3rd year in a row!!
  • May 23Congrats to the Class of '24 for over 5 Million Dollars in Grants and Scholarships!
  • May 23All students please return your PHS library books due to summer and to avoid fees



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May 23, 2024

College debt workarounds

As college decision letters are flooding into high school seniors’ mailboxes, the decision of where to commit is a hard one. One of the most important factors when picking a school is “am I going to have to go into debt?” This is a major cause of stress and anxiety for many prospective college students.

Future college students are taking many different routes to avoid going into debt while still going to college. Many students apply for need and merit based scholarships and grants. These can include filling out FAFSA, which will give you financial aid based on your families income, or applying for the Pell grant, which assists undergraduates coming from low income families with paying for school.

A lot of students have to rely on merit based scholarships because many families make enough money to not qualify for financial aid, but don’t have enough money to pay for their children’s college tuition. Students can receive merit based scholarships for a variety of things, such as a high gpa,  participation in sports, community service and much more.

However, a majority of students do not qualify for any scholarships so they need to come up with other ways to graduate college debt free. One solution many universities offer is the Federal Work Study program. This provides students with part time jobs either on the college campus or nearby. This allows students to pay for their education expenses while they are currently attending school.

Many other businesses will pay for your college if you work there while attending college as well. Retail businesses such as Starbucks, Target, Lowes, Disney, and more offer this option. Target partners with 40 schools to offer tuition to part time and full time employees and other companies have similar systems.

To save money, many students opt to attend community college first to obtain an associates degree. This can be a great option for students who do not know what they want to major in yet. Another plus of community college is that in the state of Virginia if you complete community college with a certain GPA, you can obtain guaranteed admission to more than 30 colleges in Virginia including Virginia Tech, UVA, JMU and many more.

Students can also get their schooling paid for depending on their major. Some colleges will pay for some or all of a  students education if they agree to work at a certain place after graduation. For example, nurses and teachers were in a lot of areas that are highly in demand.

These are all great solutions to avoid student loan debt. However, why do we need to come up with these solutions? Why is higher education getting so unaffordable for many students?

In recent years funding from the government has significantly decreased. In 2020, 32 states spent less on higher education than in 2008 with an average decrease of almost $1500 per student. Another major contribution to increasing tuition costs is increased demand for higher education.

Between 1990 and 2020 the total number of college students in the US increased from 13.8 million to nearly 20 million. This is speculated to be due to the increase for employers requiring or preferring job candidates to hold a college degree in their prospective fields.

College can be a great opportunity to further ones education and learn more about a career you are interested in and it can be an exciting time for making friends and having fun. However, when making college decisions, think about whether you want to be in debt, potentially for most of your adult life.

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About the Contributor
Addie Joyce
Addie Joyce, Contributor
Addie Joyce is a Junior at Powhatan High School. This is her first year in Journalism. In her free time she enjoys reading, listening to music, shopping, and hanging out with friends. Addie believes the news is important because everyone needs to know what is happening in the world and everyone should be as informed as they can be. Her special skills are communication and creativity.

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