The cost of attendance for higher education is rising each year, putting a college education out of reach for many. Aspiring students are often compelled to take on burdensome debt, adding to the $1.4 trillion in student debt held nationally. Recent analysis shows that real wages for the typical college graduate have risen only 1.6 percent over the last 25 years, while their average student debt has increased by a staggering 163.8 percent.
Because college costs have risen so high, demand for scholarships and financial aid has grown exponentially in recent years. Year on year, the Scholarship Foundation makes every effort to meet that demand, particularly for low- and middle-income students. We consider it our mission and our privilege to connect these qualified, determined and motivated students with the funding they need to achieve their educational goals. Without help, low-income students will fall further and further behind their more affluent peers. The reason most-often cited for this disparity is lack of funds for tuition, expenses, books, fees—all the costs required to attend and stay in college…costs that are going up every year.
Yet the benefits of completing a college education are clear:
- A graduate from a four-year college will earn 70 percent more annually and a graduate from a two-year college will earn 30 percent more annually than a high school graduate.
- College graduates have higher employment rates and are more likely to have a pension or a retirement fund waiting for them at the end of their careers.
- College graduates experience other life-long benefits: they live longer (by an average of nine years), exercise twice as much, and smoke less than their high school graduate peers.
- College graduates also have a greater impact on their communities: they volunteer more than twice as often, require less public assistance, vote more often and pay 77 percent more in taxes than non-graduates.
Taken together or separately, these factors reflect the multiple life-long benefits that a college education can bring.
That’s why, since our inception in 1962, we have cumulatively awarded in excess of $100 million to more than 47,000 Santa Barbara County students.
We’re far from done.
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