LA CROSSE, Wis. -- -

Paying for college is a big task for many students.

Each year, it gets even tougher as college tuition steadily increases.

That means students have to rely more and more on financial aid and scholarships.

Tuition has gone up 5.5 percent each year for the past five years UW-La Crosse.

While that might seem like a big number, it's actually one of the more affordable colleges in the Midwest.

"I chose UW-La Crosse because it was pretty cheap," said UW-L freshman Maggie Ramirez.

For more and more students like Ramirez, where you go to college has a lot to do with how much you'll have to pay.

"It limited my college choices for sure. Sometimes it makes you think, "Is it worth it going to a four year, or should I just settle for a two year?'" said Ramirez.

"I'm not from a well-off family but my mom just recently graduated from college and she has her loan that she's paying and she didn't want me to have a huge loan and fell the pressure she's feeling," said UW-L freshman Andrew Vitonne.

The median family income in Wisconsin has been decreasing during the past few years to $52,000 a year.

But college tuition in the state is just the opposite.

"I feel like each year it keeps getting bigger and bigger," said UW-L freshman Andrew Vandenboogaard.

"It is very challenging these days to keep the tuition low because the state support has been cut pretty dramatically over the past 8 to 10 years," said UW-L Chancellor Joe Gow.
    5 UW-L Chancellor Joe Gow says although tuition is pretty low compared to other universities, they're not underestimating how difficult it can be for students to afford to go to college.

"We're in the middle of a significant $15 million scholarship fundraising campaign over the next few years because we know our students need more financial assistance," said Gow.

It's a much-needed effort as more and more students rely on scholarships and financial aid to earn their college degree.

"I was fortunate enough to get a lot of scholarships. I still have to pay a good amount but it's not as much as I would have had to," said Vitonne.

"Before financial aid I probably had to go around eight or nine and now it's great it's allowed me to be here financially it's really helped," said Ramirez.

UW-L already has a scholarship program for its students.

If the university is able to raise the $15 million it will double the current program.

UW-L was recently listed on Kiplinger's 100 best values in public education for academic quality and affordability.