Families in New York’s Lower Hudson Valley adjust to rising college costs

by Grace

The high cost of college is playing an increasingly important role in the way Lower Hudson Valley families go about choosing schools.  Students representing a wide range of economic demographics – from New Rochelle HS (41% students qualify for free lunch) to Fox Lane HS (only 5% qualify) – are choosing community college as a way to save money.

A high school guidance counselor sees more students who have decided to cut costs by giving up the dorm experience.

“If it’s their first time around, the price tag is shocking to parents,” said Cleary, noting that in recent years more of her school’s graduates live at home and commute to colleges within an hour’s drive to save money.

One student’s story offered a window into how the faltering economy may actually be causing families to make wiser choices.

New Rochelle High School graduate Chanelle Cawley considered attending Queens College and The Art Institute of New York.

“It was really expensive, basically, to pay that much money for my freshman year,” said Cawley, 17, who graduated Thursday from New Rochelle. She decided against the more expensive schools and opted to start at Westchester Community College, where she will study Web design.

“It’s a great program to start, and once I do my two years I can just go and transfer to a different school,” she said. “I’m planning on going to The Art Institute.”

Yearly tuition at The New York Art Institute (AI) is approximately $25,000, with housing costs adding about $20,000 more.  AI’s parent company, Education Management, is battling government charges it violated federal law in garnering billions of state and federal financial aid.  It is hoped that Cawley will look carefully at potential job prospects before she takes on student loans to study web design at this school.

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8 Responses to “Families in New York’s Lower Hudson Valley adjust to rising college costs”

  1. The Art Institute of New York is on the list of schools that failed the gainful employment rules. There are three rules that must be met, one of which is that at least 35% of graduates must be repaying their loans by at least a dollar. The loan repayment rate at some of these schools is shocking, in the single digits. All the schools that failed, btw, were for-profits. I can’t believe it was even mentioned in the same breath as Queens College, which is a great school, and not that expensive.

  2. I do think the trend is going to be to think local, and to think public. Although I am not sure what this girl is thinking. An associate’s degree in web design is not much of a ticket to success. Web design programs are becoming the new communications programs. She would have been better off with a solid 4 year degree from Queens College.

  3. I have actually talked with a staffer from this student’s high school who told me she often steers kids to public cc or other lower-cost alternatives to schools like AI. I saw her doing this with another student who wanted to study in the healthcare field, but didn’t know about less expensive alternatives. I suspect these kids get inundated with marketing material from some of these more expensive schools.

  4. I don’t know if it’s a trend, but I have noticed many local kids living at home while going to college. OTOH, it’s probably always been so with these Italian moms who don’t want their kids too far away.

  5. “I suspect these kids get inundated with marketing material from some of these more expensive schools.”

    That sounds right. Even I get inundated with for-profit college ads on the web, and I’m not in their target demographic at all.

  6. “Can non NYC residents qualify for CUNY?”

    Yes, even out-of-state students. I know a non-NYC kid who’s looking at Brooklyn CUNY.

  7. Before you asked the question, I assumed it would be in-state. But you made me wonder so I checked their website and it didn’t say anything about NYC residents vs. state residents, so I’m pretty sure any NY state resident pays in-state tuition. I’m very sure the Westchester kid I’m thinking of could not afford out-of-state tuition.

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