Anchor Intro: According to the college board, average tuition and fees at four year private universities are now averaging more than $22,000. But before you decide it's not affordable, you should know that few students actually pay the sticker price.
Voice over 1: Look just at the sticker price, and four years at a private university these days can easily cost as much as a Rolls-Royce. But that doesn't mean only the rich need apply.
SOT: "You can't shop for a college the way you shop for a car. If you walk in to buy a car, you aren't going to sit down with a salesman and have them say "You're a good guy, you've lived a good life so far, so we're going to knock another $10,000 off." "That doesn't happen in other kind of purchase other than essentially education."
Voice over 2: In other words, the cost of a college education isn't always as expensive as stated tuitions, or news headlines would have you believe.
Voice over 3: According to the College Board, while average annual tuition at a four year private college now tops $22,000, about 2/3 of all students pay less than 9. One reason why is that134 billion dollars of financial aid is given out every year.
Voice over 4: Which is why step one after choosing a list of schools is to fill this out: a FAFSA, or Federal Application for Student Aid.
Voice over 5: So working the system helps students. And so does just plain old working.
SOT: "Studies have consistently shown that students that work a moderate number of hours while in school are better academic performers."
Voice over 6: And there are other things that can help: get loans forgiven by agreeing to do public service work after graduation.
Voice over 7: Scour both local and national sources for scholarships with a free search before and during your education.
Standup: Don't let the sticker shock scare you away. The right combination of student aid, student work and student imagination can really help. After all, college may be expensive...but it's a matter of degree. For Bankrate.com, I'm Kristin Arnold.