College Bound and on a Budget

EAST STROUDSBURG — More than 50 colleges and universities helped students with their college search by visiting them at their high school.

For the students, it was helpful, especially when it came to figuring out how they will be able to afford higher education.

Rodney West is a senior at East Stroudsburg High School South and he’s taking advantage of the college fair at his school.

More than 50 colleges and universities were on hand to answer questions and show off what they can offer students.

For Rodney, he got accepted to his top choice, Bucknell University. But he’s realizing, to go there, it will cost him.

“College is very expensive,” said West.

So he’s taking matters into his own hands.

“This summer I need to work two jobs. I’m working at Great Wolf Lodge and The Crossings. It’s going to be seven days a week, so it’s going to be a little tough. I want to make it a little easier for my parents,” said West.

Rodney’s story is similar to many others out there.

A school guidance counselor, in charge of the first college fair at the school, says his department has been helping more students figure out financial aid packages.

“What money am I getting that’s free, that I don’t have to pay back? What do I have to pay back? And that number at the bottom, where is that money coming from?” said Phillip Kerzner, a school counselor.

Also at the fair was a representative with PHEAA, Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, which helps students find grants and scholarships.

Something Senior Lydia Hess, an aspiring art therapist, has taken advantage of.

“It’s very helpful to have everyone there,” said Hess.

Lydia wanted to go to Marywood University in the Scranton area, and then found out it would put her in too much debt. So after talking with her guidance counselor, she’s figured out a better, more financially sound route to take.

“Now I am planning on going to ESU to get general credits then transferring to the school I want to,” said Hess.

East Stroudsburg School District officials are planning next year’s college fair, adding more colleges, inviting more school districts and having it last into the evening for parents to attend.