By Reagan Di Trolio  

College is extremely expensive, and it is only getting pricier as time goes on, we all know that. Private colleges tend to be much more expensive than state colleges – but state colleges are much more expensive than technical colleges. 

When I was a junior in high school, I had so much pressure on myself from my family and friends on where I wanted to go to college. I had to pick between my favorite sport which was track and field or pick the career I always wanted to pursue — journalism. I was almost dead set on attending a private school in Springfield, Missouri, near my home. 

I toured Drury University’s campus in Springfield, and I loved it.  I even received a $10,000 track scholarship. However, after my tour, I sat down with my parents to look over how much attending school there would cost. I received a couple small academic scholarships as well as big track scholarship. After doing the math, my parents and I realized it would still be around $35,000 a year for me to even attend that private university.

My dad thought it was ridiculous and he knew the school was not known for their journalism or English programs, but my mom was still for it since it was close to home. I spent a few months completely confused on where I wanted to go to school, on what route I wanted to pick. It was the very end of January of my senior year of high school when I toured the University of Missouri and the KOMU-8 NBC Affiliate newsroom. I was still set on Drury at this point, but after my tour of Mizzou, my mindset completely changed. 

I was in awe of the resources a big school like Mizzou had, where private universities really cannot compare. I also liked how diverse the campus was. I am from a relatively rural area so coming to Mizzou introduced me to people from all over the world and that was a huge selling point for me. Most of all, I was blown away by the journalism program Mizzou offered – who knew the world’s journalism school was in my backyard? After the end of my tour of the campus and of the real NBC newsroom, I was so excited and giddy. My dad and I looked at each other and both had the look in our eyes of, ‘this is it.’  

As in instate and public university, Mizzou was thousands of dollars cheaper than Drury, but it was also 20 times harder to get scholarships. I did not have the best ACT score and I did not qualify for any financial aid scholarships. I decided to go to Mizzou anyway because I knew it was for me.  

I am privileged to have not had to deal with college finances all by myself, but as I got into my freshmen year, I could tell it was hard for my parents. Since I never got any scholarships and I didn’t qualify for aid, I wondered if there was something I could do to cut down the cost of living or tuition while at college. I decided to try out to be an RA, since I knew they got their housing waived. I even joined a residential life club to get me in good standing with residential life. I interviewed and it went so well, but I didn’t get the job.

COVID hit and my world was turned upside down. I didn’t know if I could go back to Mizzou and neither did my family. I was able to find an extremely cheap apartment near campus for my sophomore year and I tried to be an RA once again. I had never been happier to learn I got the job as an RA after I kept trying and all my housing for the rest of my time in college was waived. This made Mizzou $10,000 cheaper for my family and me. The moral of my story is no matter your situation, there is always a way to make college cheaper, for you and your whole family. 


Reagan Di Trolio is a senior broadcast major at the University of Missouri