One of the most intimidating factors when considering college is the price associated with a college education. Exactly what is it you are paying for and will you be able to afford it? These are valid questions and ones you need answered in order to plan for your or your child’s future college education.
College Tuition and Fees
We realize that colleges charge students to attend and this charge, or tuition, can vary. Tuition can be charged by the academic year, semester, course or unit.
If you are a state resident at the college of attendance, tuition is close to half that of a non-resident. Other associated student fees and room and board are usually the same for state residents and non-residents.
Student “fees” can involve many items. These items can include from library access to parking or registration to student health insurance. A student fee total is usually provided by the college showing only the most significant fees. Other fees may comprise of ID cards, membership in the student union, use of athletic facilities and much more. If you want to know more about specific fees, try contacting the registrar’s office, cashier, financial aid office or the admissions office.
The average cost of tuition and fees for the 2010-2011 school year was about $27,300 at private colleges, $7,600 for state residents at public colleges and $19,600 for out-of-state residents attending public universities.
Textbooks and School Supplies
Some classes taken will require one or more textbooks to be purchased or a lab that must be taken in conjunction with the class requiring a separate fee. Plus, we cannot forget all the regular school material such as reference books, pens, pencils, folders, notebooks . . . etc. . . All this is another cost that is usually not included.
Room and Board
Different schools may offer housing and food plans that you can pick from. On-campus housing can include dorm and meal plan. Often, housing and a meal option are available separately, while living off-campus you can choose to have your meals on campus. In a report, the average cost of room and board ranged from about $8,535 at four-year public schools to almost $9,700 at private schools. And don’t forget, students living at home save a tremendous amount on room and board.
Personal and Transportation
As in every aspect in life, there are always “other” costs involved that we must take into account. We must remember that there are costs such as transportation (gas, car repairs or bus pass), clothing, personal items and many other expenses that must be accounted for.
Here’s a bright side. Many students receive financial aid. This can ease the burden of an expensive college career. And let’s not forget grants that are out there. This is money that does not need to be repaid.
Remember financial aid and grants are two ways that will help keep expenses down and help make college education an affordable choice for most families.