FSU sophomore Gabriel Bidot is paying for college with his Bright Futures Scholarship and working during school breaks.
“I work during the summers when I go back home, and I’ve talked to my parents about getting a job up here,” said Gabriel.
But by the time Gabriel is a senior, his tuition will have likely increased more than 30 percent and his Bright Futures Scholarship won’t go as far.
Florida has some of the lowest tuition prices in the country, but those prices will soon be increasing by 15 percent a year. At the same time, state lawmakers are cutting Bright Futures.
“I don’t have that much money to pay for it on my own, so more than likely that will add to my loan debt,” said Matty Budesa, a junior from Brevard.
“I definitely have to work more now. I have a part-time job. I try to offset the balance that way,” said Lale Brown, a junior from Lake County.
These students have also noticed changes in the quality of their education as budget shortfalls are forcing colleges to cut staff and programs.
“For most of my classes, I end up having TAs. I don’t really have any professors, like maybe two,” said Lale.
“I’ve actually only had about four professors in my time here,” said Matty.
“I start to wonder if it’s going to be worth spending all this money to go to school,” said Lale.
According to FinAid, student loan debt is expected to top a trillion dollars in a couple of months, and now economists are trying to figure out if student loans are the next economic bubble to burst.
Open enrollment in Florida’s prepaid college plans begins on Monday. There are three different plans. The price of college tuition in Florida based on current trends is expected to be $120,000 dollars over four years. Buying a plan next week could cost $49,000, which can be paid out over 18 years.
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