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When I started college in the fall of 2000, I think my tuition for the year (including room and board, but before books and supplies) was $17,000. By the time I was done, it was just north of $20,000. Incoming freshmen were paying $25,000 at that point. YIKES.

I knew guys that would max out their financial aid and student loans every semester. Many of them graduated with over $125,000 in debt. I was lucky. My parents helped me quite a bit, but I still walked away with five digits in debt. It's tough to get going in the world when you're paying $400/month to Sallie Mae.

What's worse is I have a few friends that didn't go to college and make more a year than I do. They tease me mercilessly. Nothing pisses me off more than some ass-hat telling me that my college degree isn't worth anything and that they're not even going to send their kids to college because it "isn't worth it." [/mini rant]

Anyway, make sure your daughter applies for every scholarship she can. I know I really struggled with those. Being a middle class white guy excluded me from almost every scholarship there was. There are more opportunities for girls in that department, so make sure she starts filling out applications. It sounds like she's pretty dang smart, so I'm sure she'll do well.
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