The Higher Cost of Higher Education: Is it Worth It?

When it comes to a college education, lesson one is easy enough: studies show that a college degree can increase your earning power and open doors. It's lesson two that's tougher: the cold hard facts of cash.

The steadily increasing cost of tuition, books and other materials might lead some parents to believe a college education is out of reach for their children, but that isn't necessarily true. In many cases, assistance is out there. It's just a matter of finding it.

Linda Miller with the Jefferson County Public Schools says that parents need to be aggressive when it comes to finding help to pay for the cost of college. "Parents shouldn't use money as an excuse, because I believe you can find the money. And if you're a low-income family, there is lots of money and assistance out there."

U of L's Reginald Meeks told WAVE 3's Dawne Gee that there is a wealth of financial aid programs and "scholarships available for everything from people that are interested in certain academic areas, people with certain talents, redheaded people, left-handed people, people with just C averages -- all kinds of things are available."

One source of money in Kentucky is the Kentucky Education Excellence Scholarships. And most high school students in the state are eligible. The scholarships are based on the student's grade point average in high school. Currently, Kentucky students who maintain high GPAs in high school can earn up to $10,000 for all four years.

KEES Scholarships can be used by any student enrolling at a state college, a state university, or a state technical school.

Choosing the right college is a team sport. It takes a little effort from everybody. The parent, the student and the high school. It takes a good game plan, too. Parents should never assume that the students have covered every base or explored every avenue. Parents need to be involved in the process.

The final lesson for parents: don't be afraid to ask for help. Your child's guidance counselor is your best source of information and advice.