Even in a bad economy, parents continue to pay UC and private school costs

December 3, 2010 — by Olivia Chock

Despite the downtrodden economy, most Saratoga High parents are still finding a way to pay for their students’ four-year college tuition to increasingly expensive UCs and private colleges.

“I don’t think the cost of college tuition is a huge factor,” parent Ananya Mishra said. “If my child gets into a top college that hundreds of other students are rejected to, we’ll find a way to pay for it.”

Although it seems like Saratoga parents are still managing to pay for top schools, more students are signing up for scholarships. Last year, roughly 80 students applied for scholarships. According to guidance counselor Alinna Satake, this year, however, 177 students applied to be nominated for the various scholarships offered.

But assistant principal Brian Safine said the increased number of students applying for scholarships may not have anything to do with the economy. Last year, students had to come into the office to apply for a scholarship—a long process with many steps that a lot of students didn’t want to do. Since a lot of applications are done online now, it is a lot easier for students to apply for scholarships.

Every January, there are financial aid nights for the senior parents. In the past, only 40 or 50 parents would attend, but last year, the number of attendees doubled to 80 to 90 parents, Safine said.

“These numbers might not directly say how many more parents are seeking financial aid, but these parents wouldn’t go unless they felt they needed it,” said guidance counselor Bonnie Shiekh.

Perhaps adding to the need to seek scholarships is that more students are attending private colleges. From 2008 to 2010, the applications for privates have increased by 6 percent.

“You would think that the community college attendance rates would increase since it’s the cheapest and that the private college attendance rates would decrease, but it’s actually the opposite here,” Safine said.

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