A new school year just got underway, but higher education experts say high school students should already be planning for next year. For the next six weeks, the Utah Higher Education Assistance Authority will be traveling to high schools across the state, talking to students and parents about planning and paying for college.
If you or your children are in high school, Pamela Silberman, Director of Communications at the Utah System of Higher Education says it’s time to plan.
“It does require a family to do a lot of thinking and not just wait until spring of senior year of high school and say ‘gee what am I going to do for college?’
Luckily parents and students don’t have to do it alone. Silberman says from now until mid-October financial aid experts will be traveling to 19 different high schools across the state to meet with students and parents. In addition, there are websites designed to walk teens and parents through the process.
“One great website that we have is called StepUpUtah.com and that will have information on how you pay for college. What are the high school requirements you should be pursuing depending on the type of degree that you want. And that leads you to another website called UtahFutures.org where a student can actually track their planning, take practice tests.”
The state is currently in the middle of an initiative to get 66% of the adult population to have some form of post-secondary degree or credential by 2020. Silberman says that goal is obtainable in part to the Beehive state's tuition prices, which she says are more affordable than in most states.
"If we look at is as a percentage of a households income it has only gone from about 3% to 6%. So even though it has risen, it is still not a huge chunk of a household’s income."