Paying for college any way they can

By Matt Porter

October 10, 2013 Updated Oct 10, 2013 at 6:45 PM EDT

(WBNG Binghamton) The noisy cappuccino machine echoes through the Ithaca cafe while student Gabriella Carr carefully pours the hot drink for students waiting in line.

Carr is no stranger to long hours at her job, she has been working at least part-time during all five years of her schooling at Ithaca College.

As college tuition costs have risen by 1,120 percent, more students are working part-time or full-time jobs to pay for their degree.

Carr said working after class has been essential in covering her expenses.

"It's always trying to keep your head above water I feel like," Carr said. "People are always shocked by how much I do, but if you want your dream you're going to do whatever that means I guess."

It hasn't always been easy.

Carr had to take two medical leaves of absence which caused her to lose part of her merit scholarship.

During one leave, she worked 60 hours a week and took classes online.

Things got so bad, her mother told her she'd cut back on food at home to pay her expenses at school.

For Carr, that was the point she knew she'd have to find a way to pay for school her own way.

"You never want to put your parents in that position," she said. "They want to help you, they want to support you, but there's a certain cost when it has to be on your own."

Now, Carr's working 40 hours a week at two jobs.

The work covers what her financial aid doesn't.

Loan counselor Terrence Banks said finding a job is the best way for students to keep costs down.

"Finding employment while you're in school I think would be the best idea in this day and age," Banks said, "Especially with the rising costs."

College costs have risen at a faster rate than any other expense including housing and medical care.

Carr said she works to achieve what her parents didn't.

"My dad dropped out of college and my mom is from Brazil," she said. "So for my family it was kind of a big deal to go to college."

12 out of the 20 million students rely on some sort of loan to pay for college.

The student loan debt for the United States crossed the $1 trillion mark this year.

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