Be realistic about paying for college costs

Jahna Berry:

State-budget cuts forced many colleges and universities to make huge tuition hikes. Job losses siphoned money for college savings accounts.
When home values nose-dived during the housing bust, students and parents lost the ability to tap home-equity lines for extra cash. The Dow’s wild swings have chewed up balances in 529 college-saving accounts, which often include stocks.
“Parents are desperate,” said April Osborn, executive director of the Arizona Commission for Postsecondary Education, which administers several federal and state grants that go to Arizona college students.
While college costs rise, there is less grant money to go around. Three state grants that awarded up to $2,000 to college students were suspended last year.
Two federal grants, including one that provided up to $3,000 for awardees, were eliminated and won’t be available starting this fall, she said.