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Navigating the college funding process with ease

The costs of higher education are rising as time goes on, while more students and parents have started to use loans to get through the expensive process of earning a degree. Unfortunately, more obstacles have sprouted up that have yielded somewhat negative trends in the college funding arena, specifically with respect to how long it is taking students to graduate these days. Studies have shown that many students will take five or six years to complete a four-year degree. 

"Smarter planning can help students graduate on time."

Considering the costs of tuition and other necessities when attending a university, this could essentially force a student to drop out before completing the degree program, and make it difficult to pay off the debts for the time in attendance. Smarter, more guided and informed planning can make all the difference when trying to graduate on time and on budget, and one school has taken its own approach to supporting students. 

A map to savings
The Mankato Free Press recently published an opinion piece on Minnesota State University's mapping plan that helps students ensure they will graduate on time, affirming that it is a good step in the right direction for attendees and the school alike. According to the news provider, there has never been a greater need to finish school within the four years planned because of the expenses involved, and any support to parents and students that helps will be invaluable. 

The source stated that the mapping initiative was launched in 2014, and has expanded out to include all of its undergraduate programs in the time since. The developers and managers of the initiative are looking to make improvements to the user experience for students and parents leveraging the map, but it has already been effective in notifying them when they might be falling off track to graduate in four years. 

Interestingly, the source noted that students are not the only ones who will benefit from this type of initiative, as schools have been found to operate better when their enrollees are graduating on time. The Mankato Free Press also pointed out that mapping is still somewhat new to state-run schools like MSU, which has a 25 percent four-year graduation rate, compared to private schools in Minnesota that have an 80 percent rate using similar tactics. 

Students who follow informed plans will be more likely to graduate on time. Students who follow informed plans will be more likely to graduate on time.

The big picture
EdCentral recently explained some of the reasons why the total cost of attendance is getting more difficult to predict and plan for, and that lower income families often need support in understanding the full breadth of expenses involved in higher education. The news provider asserted that financial aid programs can be filled with issues that end up leaving parents and students who truly require the assistance without much support at all. 

All families can benefit from scheduling a one-on-one meeting with a Smart TrackTM college funding expert to better understand costs and financial aid opportunities.