As Seen on TV: College Tuition Costs

Learn how to combat rising tuition costs and make college affordable.

Dec. 3, 2008— -- Soaring tuition costs are making a college education unaffordable for most Americans, according to a report by the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, which measures the state of higher education nationwide. The report finds that the cost of college tuition increased 439 percent from 1982 to 2007, outpacing family income and the prices of other goods and services.

"Measuring Up," is the fifth in a series of report cards on the state of the higher education system across the nation. On the Web site, you can check out your state's report card and see how your colleges rank in terms of preparation, participation, affordability, completion, benefits and learning against the nation as a whole, as well as see reports since the 1990s. Click here for the full analysis.

College Parents of America is a resource designed for parents who are planning and preparing to put their child through college. It outlines savings plans, discounts on college prep testing services, and an ask-the-experts section.

With tutition costs soaring, students should explore college scholarship opportunities to help offset the cost of higher education. College offers scholarships for activities like Web design and blogging, as well as for women and minority students. You can also search the Web through the database for opportunities by subject, minority status and location. It also breaks down a list of grants and scholarships available in your home state.

More College Cost Resources is government resource that details each state's financial aid programs and offers tips for students preparing for college -- everything from finding a job, to studying abroad and repaying loans.

Sallie Mae, a student loan lender, offers a useful tool on its Web site, where you can estimate and compare education costs at different colleges and graduate schools in the country. Their calculator helps determine additional college costs for room and board, books and supplies based upon guidelines and criteria (in-state versus out-of-state school, etc.) that you set.

ABC News' Financial Contributor Mellody Hobson offers advice on how to budget for your child's freshmen year -- tips on how to much money to give your kids and traps to avoid.