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Planning for college helps ease rising costs

Posted: September 28, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: September 28, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Samantha Summers, left, worked on her college application with Pegasus2edu owner Peggy Stabile at the company's Valencia office on Feb. 3, 2011. Summers was accepted to several schools.

 

When Peggy Stabile opened the doors on her college planning business for high school students and their families in September 2010, six families utilized its services.

After three college application cycles, Pegasus2edu has served 24 students and their families. The payoff? The college planning efforts have produced $339,000 in merit scholarships for the students, Stabile said.

A longtime resident of Santa Clarita, Stabile said she started Pegasus2edu following a rewarding career teaching English, reading and special education. Only after she served as a school counselor at Hart High, Valencia High and College of the Canyons — assisting students with the college application process — did Stabile go into private practice, offering one-on-one services to students and their families through her company.

In the two years since the college planning company opened its doors, Pegasus2edu has brought on two additional consultants to keep up with the number of clients seeking its services, Stabile said.

The average cost of a year at a public college in California ranges from $23,444 in the California State University system to $31,700 in the University of California system, according to CaliforniaColleges.edu, the state’s official website for information about higher education. Those estimates are based on a standard 12-unit semester and the student living on campus; though living off campus or with parents doesn’t achieve great savings.

The high cost of education is no surprise to California students, who have suffered from sticker shock with steadily rising tuition fees throughout the state school system for the past several years. Tuition increases have far exceeded the rate of inflation since 1999. And in general, the cost of attending public, four-year institutions in the United States has grown at a rate of 6.5 percent per year from 2001 through 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

For families who need help sending their children to college, but feel they may not be eligible for college financial aid, Stabile’s company prepares students to be in a competitive position for scholarships based on grades, extra-curricular and volunteer activities and academic promise. The scholarships secured by her clients, which average $15,000 to $20,000 are renewable each year, Stabile said. Over a four-year period, that amount could equate to expenses paid for a full year of college tuition, room and board or more.

“Every student who has worked with a Pegus2edu counselor has been accepted to multiple colleges listed on their college option sheet,” Stabile said. “The average number of acceptances is five, with one tremendously industrious student having amassed 14.”

Pegasus2edu is located at 27201 Tourney Road, Suite 200A in Valencia. More information can be found at pegasus2edu.net or by calling 661-993-1881.

jadkins@the-signal.com

661-287-5599

 

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