Delaying college to save money

Riverland Community College

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KIMT NEWS 3 — As the cost of college continues to rise the debt graduates owe does the same. Because of that concern many high school grads are putting off higher education.

These days, not having a college degree comes with a problem that was not much of a concern 20 years ago. It can be hard to find a good job if you do not have some sort of higher education.

While some may be putting school off, others are jumping right in.

Nodir Boymatov is Persian but came to southern Minnesota to pursue higher education.

“Austin’s a smaller city, Riverland was affordable for my family and smaller cities mean less expensive so I was like, that’s the best place that I’m looking for,” Boymatov said.

But Austin is not his last stop. He is hoping to go to the University of Minnesota for his bachelor’s degree and eventually go on to med school. His ultimate goal is to become a cardiologist.

“In a community college they offer smaller class sizes, cheap education and you can take your two year degree here and then transfer to a four year university,” Boymatov said.

Those at Riverland say it is getting harder to keep education costs low.

“Riverland has seen over three million dollars come out of our regular appropriation over the last couple of years, which has made it much more challenging for us to continue to offer the access and quality of education without charging more tuition to students,” said Steve Bowron, Dean of Institutional Advancement at Riverland.

Because of those rising costs, many are putting off college because of financial constraints. Not only that, but Bowron says students are working full-time jobs while in school to help pay for it and that can take away from their school work and possibly full-time status.

“Scholarships really come into play even if it’s just cutting back their hours,” Bowron said, “They don’t feel like they have to work so much and they can put a little more time and energy into their education.”

One way Riverland is hoping to help students is through something they call “150 by 2015″ They hope to create 150 sponsored scholarships from the community over the next couple of years.

So far, there are 111 in place and students like Boymatov are hoping to take advantage of that support.

“I just look around those organizations, I apply for them,” Boymatov said, “I can get some, I cannot get some, so still there are a lot of ways for students to get scholarships to help them out with the tuition fee.”

He said there are a lot of talented people outside of the U.S. that want to come here to build their education. He said it would be nice to see more affordable tuition, which could help attract them to the U.S.

Bowron said if state legislators would support higher education the way they did in the past, the financial burden would not weigh as heavily on students.

For more information on the Riverland Community College Foundation and their scholarship program, visit their website.

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