The 21st Century Learners

The MacArthur Foundation’s grantmaking aims to determine how digital media are changing the way young people learn, play, socialize, and participate in civic life. Answers are critical to education and other social institutions that must meet the needs of this and future generations.

Survive on Your College Costs

College can be expensive, but it’s possible to both save on costs and make your money go farther once you’re enrolled. Here are 10 big and small ways to cut college costs.

  1. Stay in state—or nearby
    Going to an in-state college can amount to huge savings. The average tuition and fees for in-state students tallied $7,635 in 2011-2012, compared to $17,785 for out-of-state students, according to U.S. News data. If you don’t plan to stay in state, consider regional tuition breaks, which can cut costs, too.
  2. Consider community college
    When money is tight but college is a priority, a community college might be a good option. If you plan to attend a four-year university, consider taking community college courses during high school or the summer before college to start accruing credits early.
  3. Look local
    Scholarships are a great way for all kinds of students to get money for college, and local funding opportunities tend to be less competitive. Don’t overlook small scholarships in your hometown. Odds are, you’ll have a better chance of securing one, and every little bit helps.
  4. Stay on track
    Nothing can cause your college costs to overrun like having to stay in school an extra semester, an extra year, or more. Take full class loads, keep up with your graduation requirements, and focus on earning good grades in every course.

Most Diverse Black Colleges

Teens interested in attending a historically black college can expect to be challenged academically and learn skills that will one day lead to a professional job.

What they can’t expect is to always be surrounded by black peers. Some historically black colleges, or HBCUs as these schools are often called, are predominantly white, while others have more mixed student bodies.

At Bluefield State College, for example, more than 85 percent of students were white in 2013.

While Bluefield State, which was once dubbed the “whitest historically black college in America” by NPR, has an especially low percentage of black students, a number of historically black colleges have undergraduate populations that are racially mixed, according to U.S. News data.

African-American students who attend a historically black school that isn’t predominantly black may be surprised if they are expecting the traditional HBCU experience, says Daniel C. Moss, the chief people person of HBCU Connect, which hosts boutique recruitment events and publishes information online and in print for black college students and alumni. Their campus’ culture, for example, may differ from schools that are historically black and the vast majority of students identify as African-American.

What students learn, though, should remain the same no matter what the ethnic breakdown is for the institution’s students.

“In the ideal scenario, a student will still receive a quality education,” says Moss, a graduate of Claflin University in South Carolina.