The Importance of Knowing How College Tuition Works

Photo by Elina G. Hamilton
Getting a good start in life is difficult. There are many obstacles at the beginning years of adult life, all of which somehow have to be learned outside the classroom. More often, they are learned the hard way. 

When I was 17 or 18, I was terrified of looking for colleges in the U.S. partially because it was so far from home, but mostly because of how expensive college was. 
I had very few resources back in 2002 to find out what was the best option so I went with a college that I knew I could afford. I was fortunate to have extraordinary professors who nurtured my love of music at Portland State University and am very proud of my accomplishmemts there. I also finished college with $0 student debt and $0 credit card debt thanks to a low, in-state tuition, Pell grants, scholarships that I earned, and two part-time jobs. 
I now have a Ph.D., have presented research papers at Oxford, Yale, Princeton, and MIT, among many other "world-leading" institutions. And I hold a faculty position at the Boston Conservatory. is a wonderful new website where tuition information and SAT/ACT scores correlate with income brackets to show what is affordable to YOU. I hope that more information like this can become widely accessible to our information-centered generation.
I want every high school student to know that there are ways to get through college with little or no debt. 

If I had the resource of knowing exactly how much money a college education would cost me, that is, not just the sticker price that can be found on websites, I would have gone to college with a lot more financial confidence.