Paying the higher cost of a higher education

When Ashley Overhouse's parents found out that the cost of her first year at the University of California-Santa Cruz would be almost 8% higher than they'd thought, she says they had an understandable reaction: "They freaked."

Ashley's parents aren't alone. As tuitions and fees continue to rise both in California and nationwide, there is increasing pressure on college-bound members of the class of 2008 and their families to fill the gap between what they can get in federal and state financial aid and what a higher education will actually cost them.

To finance her freshman year of college this fall, Ashley has secured a $5,000 Cal Grant, two scholarships and two loans from UCSC. Even with all this in place, she's still looking at ways to cover costs. "My scholarships are for $400 and $1,000," Ashley says. "That'll pay for my books."