As classes end, colleges nationwide have begun billing students for the 2017-2018 academic year. tuition has risen by several thousands of dollars at many universities, many of which have given no increased financial aid to help account for those who need to compensate for the added costs.

The reasoning behind tuition increases

The main reason for tuition increases was to keep up with inflation. As the value of the US dollar decreases, universities aim to compensate for the loss in value by increasing tuition for students. However, while tuition is adjusted for inflation annually, wages and salaries are not.

Additionally, financial aid is not adjusted for inflation. As a result, tuition becomes less affordable for families each year. Other causes for increased tuition include federal spending cuts for higher education and the addition of amenities to attract prospective students. These costs are typically paid for by students.

Offsetting the unpaid tuition

Currently, little has been done to help reduce the growing cost on families. However, some institutions have taken the initiative to make higher education more accessible in the US. For example, last month New York made the historic decision to be the first state to offer free tuition to public universities for students whose Household Income is below $100,000.

Officials said that in 2018, the maximum household income to qualify for free tuition will increase.

Additionally, popular musicians have taken to social media to help fans pay for college. Pop sensation Beyoncé announced the establishment of the Formation Scholars Awards, which will provide scholarships for four graduate students studying creative arts, music, literature or African-American studies.

Similarly, rapper and songwriter Nicki Minaj paid 30 students' tuition for receiving straight A's earlier this month.

What this could mean for future students

With the increasing pressure to attend college for higher prospects in an already competitive job market and not enough available financial aid to cover rising tuition, many students have turned to multiple part-time or full time jobs to help account for the difference.

While students in generations' past have taken on jobs to help cover the remaining balance on their tuition, this is becoming less feasible each year.

Due to the fact that undergraduate students do not yet have college degrees, their career options are more limited than if they did have them. Barring jobs that require technical skills (which require more hours per week that would likely by unsustainable due to a full-time course load), students are usually only able to land minimum wage jobs. While this was once enough money to pay for college in the past, it is now a virtually impossible feat. Some students work as many as three jobs to keep up with tuition payments at community college, despite the fact that community college is typically the least expensive route of higher education.

“I work about 45 hours per week" said Courtney Williams, a sophomore at Fullerton College. "I wouldn’t have three jobs if it weren’t for the high cost of school. I’m paying my own way through college,” Williams told USA Today. For four year public and private universities, the amount of work necessary to pay for college tuition is much higher. Working for long hours can impede students from partaking in several habits that are linked to success in college, such as getting adequate rest, studying, and being involved in extracurricular activities. This has also caused students to turn to public and private loans to compensate for the rest of their tuition balances. However, with rising interest rates, the expected disappearance of loan forgiveness, and the exemption of student debt from discharge in bankruptcy cases make loans increasingly unappealing to students.

As a result, students often find themselves unable to attend their top college choice, and some ultimately choose not to attend college as a result..

With higher pressure to create solutions, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced that she would be proposing new federal loan repayment options. However, it is yet to be determined how student debt can be minimized with rising tuition costs.