BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - Thousands of Western Kentucky University students returned to campus Monday, ready for the first day of class. Instead of hitting the books, many were opening their wallets.
"It seems like there is just prices coming from everywhere. I mean it makes things difficult, but you do what you gotta do," says student KJ Hall.
"The cost of coming to college is insane. I bought five books and I still have I think 3 more and it cost $373," says student Erin Gates.
The cost of books are added on to those shiny new electronics, school supplies, room and board, and of course, tuition. According to The College Board the cost of tuition has risen 27% over the last 5 years. Some students have found ways avoid the higher costs, by sticking close to home.
"With in state tuition and then just living at home and being able to commute back and forth it makes it a lot cheaper for me to come here as opposed to other places," says Kyle Pardue, who commutes from Scottsville.
"I think when I was younger I thought more about out of state, but it just makes so much more sense to come in state," says Kenzie Grubbs.
Sending a student out of state could cost $20,000 more. Even attending a local college, some students still take out loans. That has many WKU freshmen worried about where they will be in four years.
"The fact that you have to have a degree to get a job, but they expect you to pay like over $20,000 a year for college," says Julie Todd.
"Will your future job pay off the amount of money spent on your degree? So it's just difficult and you really have to plan in advance and it's making it tough," says KJ Hall.
Without financial aid and loans, many students we spoke with say they couldn't attend college.