Students have no problem finding ways to save

If you find yourself counting coins more often, filling out more applications and generally spending more frugally than in the past few years, don’t worry — you aren’t alone in taking cost-saving measures to make college more affordable.

In fact, you would be included with about 99.9 percent of college students and their families, according to “How America Pays for College,” Sallie Mae’s national study of college students and parents, conducted by Gallup.

According to the study, parents and college students are combating ever-rising tuition costs by increasing personal income contributions, as well as borrowing money through financial aid, loans from family and friends and scholarships.

The national increase in average tuition costs is similar to an increase at Marquette, where average undergraduate tuition rose from $28,980 for the 2009-’10 school year to $30,040 for the current year, according to the Marquette website. Those costs don’t include room and boardor fees.

Michelle Sapyta, a freshman in the College of Health Sciences, said financial aid and scholarships were a large part of her college decision — a situation shared by 63 percent of families whom were surveyed by Gallup, up from 56 percent in 2009.

The Sallie Mae study showed the increase in tuition costs required an increase in all forms of payment, while the specific ways families and students paid for school did not change from 2008-’09 to 2009-’10.

Mike Trattner, a senior in the College of Business Administration, said his financial situation has remained about the same during his past four years at Marquette.

“I am so thankful my parents can help as much as they can,” Trattner said. “But I also have a scholarship, and am paying a certain amount myself … but all of those have applied pretty constantly.”

Many Marquette students find themselves covering costs in a variety of ways, similar to national averages, according to the Sallie Mae study.

Students also find Marquette’s tuition, financial aid and scholarship process — all housed within the Office of the Bursar— accommodating and helpful.

“I think Marquette’s easy to deal with on the financial side,” said Joseph Corrigan, a sophomore in the College of Engineering. “They are very helpful if I have any questions, and if I have a problem with paying tuition I can just go in and talk it out with someone.”

Some believe the university could go further with its financial contributions to students’ educations.

“I think we can find better ways for people to pay, and provide more opportunity for students,” said Judith Ifarinde, a freshman in the College of Arts & Sciences. “Maybe Marquette could work out a non-federal work-study or create more competitive scholarships for upperclassmen available to all students.”

Many Marquette students agree — regardless of payment form or tuition charges, college is worth the cost, similar to the beliefs of 53 percent of students and 51 percent of parents surveyed in 2010 by Sallie Mae.

Corrigan believes because his family is paying the majority of his tuition, he should spend that money wisely by going to classes and getting involved.

“I’m just really glad I’m lucky enough to be able to afford a school like Marquette,” Trattner said. “Because I’m not paying (personally for everything), I appreciate the privilege here.”