11/03/2012 06:51 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Here's a 'Surprise' Tuition Is Set to Increase

This month we have seen some slightly good news on the economic front. The unemployment figures have dropped a little and the GDP is up 2 percent, which is more than was expected. Things look to be improving slightly. But then the other shoe drops and the College Board releases a report stating that college tuition is on the rise again.

According to the College Board tuition had been stable for several years. I'm not sure what they were looking at. In the last couple of years as I have looked at financial aid offers for students, I've noticed that every college has added an additional Federal Stafford loan to every offer of financial aid made. Call me crazy, but how can college tuition prices be called stable when financial aid offers across the board sport an increase in the Stafford Loan amount of $2,000.00? It may not cost any more out of pocket immediately but eventually the student will pay for this non-existent increase.

All that aside as if things weren't dire enough apparently it's going to get worse. It's not surprising states and lawmakers have been shifting more and more of the burden of paying for college away from taxpayers and toward the students and their families. As state funding is decreased, tuition is increased. So how can you protect yourself from the ever increasing cost?

Here are five good tips to get you started:

• Take the right classes in high school so you do not need remedial classes in college.
• Take as many AP courses as possible while in high school. As long as you take the AP final these classes can count as college credit reducing the number of classes you'll need to take at college.
• Apply to colleges where you fall in the top 10 percent of the incoming freshman class making you a more likely candidate for merit based aid.
• Don't attend a state college that is not in the state in which you live. Tuition will be higher for non resident students.
• Attend a college that has good four-year graduation rates. Some colleges only offer required courses one class per year making it difficult to graduate in four years.

One last tip would be to apply for financial aid even if you think you won't be eligible. It can't hurt and with the ever increasing cost you may be eligible.

One last thing in an effort to help RSC is giving away a $1,000.00 scholarship every month for the next six months. Students in 8th through 12th grade (or their parents) can enter the drawing. You do not have to purchase anything to enter and if you enter one time you will be included in each drawing. To enter go to Good Luck!