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Sunday, September 09, 2018

Study break: College students meet Philly and answer a question |

Joseph N. DiStefano writes about Philadelphia-area enterprise reports, "We went to CollegeFest to ask students how they're paying for school."

Photo: Pexels

Yes, it was rainy and gray. Even a little chilly. But none of it was a deterrent Saturday — at least not among college students who were lured out of their dorms by a lot of free stuff in Philadelphia.

Thousands of students from area colleges and universities gathered in Center City on Saturday for Campus Philly's annual CollegeFest, a welcome-to-town festival that kicked off in the shadow of City Hall and sent students — many sporting their schools' colors — fanning out throughout the downtown to get acquainted with its many cultural institutions at no cost.

At Dilworth Plaza, students were greeted by music, games, water bottles and other giveaways, and remarks from City Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, whose West Philadelphia district includes University City — home to Drexel University and the University of Pennsylvania. From there, students headed to the Art Museum, Franklin Institute, National Constitution Center, African American Museum, Betsy Ross House, and Eastern State Penitentiary, each offering free admission Saturday in hopes of winning fans for life.

With college costs rising faster than other prices, rapid changes in the overall robust job market, digital learning sparking a debate over the future of higher education, and student debt a huge factor in major life decisions like career choices, home purchases, and marriage, the Inquirer asked CollegeFestgoers how they are affording school.