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College Crunch: The Real Costs of a Higher Education & How to Deal With Paying for It

From financial stability to mental health, paying for college can be as difficult as the classes.

College students throughout the Philadelphia region are experiencing firsthand the consequences and struggles of affording a higher education.

American graduates currently owe nearly $1.5 trillion, and that number continues to rise. Huge moments in the “real world” have been put off, as some graduates wait longer to get married or buy a house because the college debt has added up.

Temple professor Cindy Axelrod says that although school is expensive, college grads still earn 70 percent more than workers with just a high school diploma. The key to avoiding financial issues after college is budgeting your debt. This could mean splitting rent with a roommate or holding off on buying that hot new sports car.

Deaja Hopkins-Shaw, a student at Temple University, was forced to find a way around all of the college debt. She had to quit college after just one semester because she was unable to afford it. She joined the military and her education became free. After serving five years in the Air Force, she returned to Temple, now with a full tuition paid.

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Universities try to provide students with affordable options.

Rowan University partnered with Rowan College of Gloucester County to create the Rowan Connection. This agreement offers the 3+1 Program and the Rowan Choice program, giving two alternatives to an otherwise pricey four years.

Delaware State University and Temple University both have dual admissions agreements, which allow partnering community college students to transition smoothly to the university. Scholarships are also provided to those students who meet a certain GPA standard.

NBC10's Randy Gyllenhaal will examine the costs of college throughout the week. On Tuesday, he looked into the anxiety, depression and mental health issues that can come with a higher education. Eagles tar offensive lineman Brandon Brooks even talked to students about his own struggles with anxiety.

Temple University held a de-stress event during finals week to give students a reprieve from the stress of exams. College stress comes from every angle and studies are showing that recently students have been exhibiting a spike in depression and anxiety. Eagles lineman Brandon Brooks shared his story.

One Pennsylvania lawmaker has a plan to lessen the burden of paying for a college education.

With college costs exploding, Pennsylvania graduates report higher student loan debt than almost anywhere in the country. State Sen. Vincent Hughes, D-Philadelphia/Montgomery, has a plan to alleviate costs but it comes at a price.

At La Salle University and some other schools, they have found lowering tuition as a key to increasing their student body.

La Salle University decided to make a risky mood two years ago and cut tuition significantly, which they call a “tuition reset.” University of the Sciences is also resetting tuition for the upcoming fall semester. And Rosemont College has also reduced tuition.
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