As costs rise, the reality of paying for an education looms larger for students and parents, changing their approach to college searches and their perception of the college experience, high school counselors say in a report by The Saratogian. Increasingly, the decision of whether to opt for a two- or four-year college is going hand in hand with the cost. Kathy Kennedy, Saratoga Springs High School’s guidance department director and a counselor for 25 years, said students and parents today are more price-tag conscious and savvy. “They’re definitely more sophisticated about the price,” Kennedy said. Laurel Logan-King, Ballston Spa High School coordinator for careers and counseling, said she sees costs increasingly playing an overriding role as students and parents try to map out the steps following graduation. “When the rubber meets the road, they’re pretty good with the decision-making,” Logan-King said. Finances are “the number one decision between the kids and their families.” As a result, more families are considering community colleges. When deciding between pursuing a two-year or four-year degree, local experts at high schools and in higher education are hard-pressed to tell students that one is better than the other. Each has its benefits and drawbacks.

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