Barrier 2: Financial Issues
By Dr. Kimberly Van Horne, Ed.D.


Financial issues are a common barrier to all college students. Finding ways to pay for college with a budget that may already be tight can be frustrating. Many students do not know about or understand the financial aid process or know how to get scholarships and campus jobs.

College Tuition and Fees

(Quotes by students: M=Male F= Female)

Going to college is expensive, no matter where a student decides to enroll. Finding the best way to pay for college is not an easy process. Many decisions have to be made and usually these decisions involve other family members. Students shared examples of the challenges created by the difficulty of finding the means to finance college fees.


Financial aid

(Quotes by students: M=Male F= Female)

Most college students are not familiar with the financial aid process. Many do not know financial aid is available, and others find the long, complex forms impossible to fill out. Some students shared some of their feelings about the financial aid process.

·         “I knew about [financial aid], but I thought it was impossible for anybody to get it” (M).

·         “I really didn’t [know about financial aid]. I didn’t know to apply for anything. You know, I didn’t know what scholarships was. I mean I had heard of it” (M).

·         “Financial aid, I tried that, but because of my mom and dad’s situation, like when I first graduated high school, it took me literally a whole semester for [financial aid] just to pay my classes” (F).

·         “I didn’t know they were giving scholarships when I first started college” (F).

·         “Sometimes they don’t give you all the information” (F).

Overcoming Barrier 2: Overcoming Financial Issues

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 (Quotes by students: M=Male F= Female)

Luckily, there are many ways students can find out more information about financial aid and get the help they need to help pay for college. The BC financial aid office is the best place to learn all of the information a student needs to know about how to get financial aid, and the staff in the office will help students fill out the forms individually. Some BC students also offered strategies that were helpful in alleviating financial issues and persisting at BC. They shared two common strategies that helped them to ease the financial burdens of paying for college fees and to find ways to learn about and receive financial aid: (a) make financial sacrifices and (b) be proactive to obtain financial aid.


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Financing College Tuition and Fees

(Quotes by students: M=Male F= Female)

Students discussed the importance of being willing to make personal monetary sacrifices in order to afford school and achieve academic success at BC.

Getting Financial Aid

Financial Aid picture.jpg

 (Quotes by students: M=Male F= Female)

Students who had little or no background information about financial opportunities or how to navigate the application process said it was important to be proactive and to seek out financial aid information on their own.


1. Competing Demands 2. Financial Issues 3. Cultural Beliefs, Values, & Attitudes about Education 4. Transitions to College
5. Failing or Repeating a Course 6. Starting College in Developmental Courses 7. Personal Attitudes about College  


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