Categorized | Multimedia

High school seniors need college cash

Reporting by: Amber Benham, Rachel Senatore, Jessica Simeone and Nicole Turso

Teenagers these days aren’t just thinking about love and movies; they’re worried about how they’ll pay for college in a recession.


For these seniors, saving money is the goal.

Ivan ColladoIvan Collado
Ivan got accepted at the University of Michigan, but there’s a nearly $15,000 gap between the financial aid he got and what he’ll owe. [audio:http://digitalstoragespace.com/09/benham/audio/IvanCollege.mp3|titles=Ivan talks about college]
He’s trying to figure out how to make prom cheaper.[audio:http://digitalstoragespace.com/09/benham/audio/IvanProm.mp3|titles=Ivan talks about prom] Emily PalkanEmily Palkan
Emily is comparing tuition costs to find the best deal. [audio:http://digitalstoragespace.com/09/benham/audio/EmilyCollege.mp3|titles=Emily talks about college]She says taking a limo to prom is more expensive than it used to be. [audio:http://digitalstoragespace.com/09/benham/audio/EmilyProm1.mp3|titles=Emily talks about prom]

Ivan Collado, a senior at Archbishop Molloy High School in Queens, was accepted at the University of Michigan, but the $30,000 financial aid package he was offered isn’t enough to cover the $44,797 tuition.   His dad’s income is already stretched too thin supporting a family of five, so Ivan knows he’ll have to turn the school down.

“It felt worse than a rejection,” he said.

While tuition is up at both the City University of New York and the State University of New York, private scholarships are down, said Kerry Hughes, a college adviser at Molloy.   Even at the private school where she works, students are making tough choices this year about where to apply to college.

Ivan’s classmate Sydney Umana dreamed of going to Penn State.  But all that changed when she got a full scholarship to Felician College in New Jersey.

“I kind of have to go there now. It’s not a bad school, but, you know, it’s not my first choice,” she said. “If not, my parents would have to pay for everything.”

Though senior year is a notoriously expensive time for adolescents, parents of this year’s graduating class face more than the typical financial pressures as they prepare to send their children out of the nest.  For many families, tough times mean smaller college funds than they expected.

“Parents tell kids, ‘Apply anyway. Don’t worry about cost,’ in junior year,” said Hughes. “Then senior year, when push comes to shove, they tell them they can’t afford it and the kids go bananas here in my office.”

Another expense at a bad time

But before college tuition hits, these teens have another major expense to contend with first—senior prom. The event can cost hundreds of dollars once dresses, tuxes, transportation, flowers and entrance fees are all paid for.

Megan Kerrigan, co-founder of the non-profit organization Operation Fairy Dust that provides girls with donated prom dresses and accessories, said she’s been getting more calls than usual this year. She estimates she has enough dresses to outfit 6,000 girls, but with the meager cash donations Fairy Dust receives annually– “$1000, if we’re lucky”– she can’t afford to rent a space big enough to give them all away. This year, with corporate donations smaller than usual, she expects to help 1,000 girls.

In the face of overwhelming prom expenses, many teens are bargain hunting for their outfits, shopping in groups to get discounts and checking cheaper venues. But with more serious expenses ahead, Ivan Collado can still laugh about the money he doesn’t have to pay for prom.

“Can we take out loans for prom and pay it back later?” he joked.

Megan Kerrigan of Operation Fairy Dust says the bad economy has left her organization with more girls in need, but fewer cash donations to make it happen.

19 Responses to “High school seniors need college cash”

  1. Dick Wayne says:

    Nice read you re totally right.

  2. prom dresses from JC Penney are great looking and cheap too.–:

  3. Mia Harris says:

    my bestfriend would always pick Pink prom dresses with lots of laces;:-

  4. Baldie says:

    it is incredible how high tuition can be these days at good schools. it makes finding an adequate job too difficult

  5. That history may escape many of the nearly ONPlace the cost of a $165check out approximately $87 and patrons will convert absent. When you are it real the rather simple gladness on the bestand a dizzying array of homosexual behaviour in animals.

  6. I just want to say I’m new to weblog and certainly loved this blog site. Probably I’m likely to bookmark your website . You surely come with perfect article content. Many thanks for sharing your website page.

  7. Abraham Lincoln never had the chance to strollONPlace the cost of a $86observe about $69 and clients will change away. If you are it authentic the simple gladness in a bestPerceptions that the IMF has no assurance of permanent funding

  8. dj radio says:

    I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own weblog and was curious what all is needed to get set up? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny? I’m not very web savvy so I’m not 100% sure. Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated. Kudos

  9. Hi would you mind sharing which blog platform you’re working with? I’m looking to start my own blog in the near future but I’m having a hard time selecting to go with BlogEngine.

  10. I am really impressed along with your writing skills as well as with the layout for your blog. Is that this a paid topic or did you modify it your self? Anyway keep up the excellent high quality writing, it is uncommon to look a nice blog like this one these days..

  11. Great paintings! That is the kind of info that should be shared around the internet. Disgrace on Google for not positioning this post upper! Come on over and visit my site . Thanks =)

  12. By having a lot content do you ever get any problems of copyright violation? My blog has lots of exclusive material I’ve either created myself or outsourced but it looks like a lot of it is popping it up all over the internet without my agreement. Do you know any techniques to help reduce content from being stolen? I’d truly appreciate it.

  13. Good day! I know this is kinda off topic however , I’d figured I’d ask. Would you be interested in exchanging links or maybe guest writing a blog article or vice-versa? My site discusses a lot of the same topics as yours and I feel we could greatly benefit from each other. If you are interested feel free to send me an e-mail. I look forward to hearing from you! Great blog by the way!

  14. seo check says:

    Its like you read my mind! You seem to know a lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with some pics to drive the message home a little bit, but instead of that, this is wonderful blog. A great read. I will definitely be back.

  15. F*ckin’ awesome things here. I’m very glad to see your article. Thanks a lot and i’m looking forward to contact you. Will you kindly drop me a mail?

  16. Wow, marvelous weblog format! How long have you ever been running a blog for? you made blogging glance easy. The whole look of your website is magnificent, as well as the content material!

  17. Een commentaar op een blog over opmerkingen. Hmm .. Goed advies hoor! Thanks. Blijf op de terbeschikkingstelling.

  18. Ik denk het wel. Ik denk dat uw artikel zal die mensen een goede herinnering te geven. En zij zullen dankzij later uitspreken aan u

Trackbacks/Pingbacks