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ST. LOUIS – As high school students head back to class this fall, a top priority for many of them—and their parents—is planning for college.
Average undergraduate tuition at public colleges is up 42 percent since 2001, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Yet, one in five students didn’t fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for last school year. Many students said they just didn’t know about it.
Arming students with the resources they need to plan and prepare for college is crucial. To that end, the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis has released several free tools to help students, parents, teachers and guidance counselors through this sometimes overwhelming process.
The new College 101 resources are available at http://stlouisfed.org/college101. There, a visually descriptive infographic highlights some factors to consider when choosing a career path. Three videos—College Choice 101, FAFSA 101 and Financial Aid 101—cover topics such as how to choose a school and a major that will provide a great return on investment in education, how to complete the FAFSA, and how to pay for college.
“There are many factors to consider when choosing a college, including how to finance college,” said Mary Suiter, assistant vice president at the St. Louis Fed. “It is also important to consider possible career paths and return on the investment in college over time. Our online materials can help introduce these factors.”
The St. Louis Fed is committed to financial literacy. Its Economic Education department offers free downloadable lesson plans, interactive whiteboard activities, videos and online courses for classrooms ranging from elementary school to college, as well as educational resources for the general public. The St. Louis Fed’s economic education courses and curriculum have reached nearly 375,000 students nationwide. All of the materials are available at http://www.stlouisfed.org/education_resources/.