families overestimate the cost of college or believe that
all schools are expensive. Although some colleges are expensive,
costs vary from institution to institution. There are various
sources of financial aid to help students pay for college,
which can make college affordable for eligible students.
When calculating college costs, there are two types
of expenses to consider:
Direct costs are generally billed by the college and
include tuition and fees. Some students will be charged
fees based on the classes they choose, such as flight
fees for flight training classes.
Indirect costs are not always billed by the college,
but they are expenses you will incur. Indirect costs
can include room and board, books and supplies, transportation
and travel, personal expenses, medical and dental expenses,
and miscellaneous expenses.
basic costs of college typically included:
Tuition is the amount of money that colleges charge
for instruction and for the use of some facilities,
such as libraries. At some colleges, tuition is a flat
fee; at others the tuition is based on the number of
credits the student takes. Tuition charges vary from
college to college and are dependent on such factors
as student residency (i.e. in-state or out-of-state
status), level of classes enrolled in (i.e. lower, upper
or graduate division), and whether the institution is
publicly or privately financed. Tuition does not include
the cost of books, fees, or room and board.
Fees are additional charges not included in the tuition.
Fees may be charged to cover the cost of materials and
equipment needed in certain courses, and they may be
assessed for student activities, athletic activities,
clubs, special events, programs, and publications.
Books and supplies cost will vary each term (i.e. semester,
quarter, trimester). The costs for your books depends
on whether you buy new or used books. You may need to
purchase additional supplies for certain classes, like
supplies for an art class.
Room costs depend on whether you plan to live on-campus
or off-campus. If you live on-campus in a dorm room,
room costs will depend on whether you live in a single,
double, triple, or quad occupancy room. If you live
off-campus in an apartment, you have to determine if
you will have a roommate and calculate the total expenses
that includes monthly rent and all utilities (i.e. gas,
electricity, telephone, etc.).
Board costs vary widely, which depends on whether you
live on-campus (dorm) or off-campus (apartment). If
you live in a dorm, you can choose a meal plan from
various choices. Meal plans guarantee that you will
have a set amount of meal each week (i.e. 5, 10, 14
meals per week). You can request detailed information
from the schools you plan to attend. If you live in
an apartment, you have to estimate your weekly or monthly
Transportation and travel includes the cost of commuting
to and from class and the cost of traveling home during
breaks and vacations. If you live on-campus, there's
probably no cost for commuting, unless you have a car
and decide to drive to class. If you live off-campus,
you may have to calculate bus/train fares to commute
to and from class or gas for driving to campus. The
amount spent traveling home depends on how often you
go home and the method of transportation (i.e. train,
bus, plane, or carpool).
Personal expenses include clothing, entertainment, phone,
laundry, toiletries, etc. You should create a monthly
budget for personal expenses.
Miscellaneous expenses include sorority/fraternity/club
dues, tutoring, summer programs, etc.
If you are interested
in calculating an estimated cost for attending a specific
college, contact each school and request a school catalog,
housing brochure, and other information regarding the academic
program you are seeking for admittance. For information
on additional fees for certain programs, contact the academic
department directly and a financial aid administrator. Remember
this is only an estimate; actual costs may differ from the
school's estimated cost of attendance, once school starts.
at Public and Private Colleges
It is important to know the difference between public
and private institutions.
Over three-quarters of all students in two-and four-year
colleges attend State or other public colleges. Since
these schools receive a large proportion of their budgets
from State or local government through tax dollars,
they can charge students who live in that State (in-State
students) relatively low tuition. Students from other
States (out-of-State students) usually pay higher tuition.
Private (sometimes called "independent") institutions
charge the same tuition for both in-State and out-of-State
students. Private college tuitions tend to be higher
than those of public colleges because private schools
receive less financial support from States and local
governments. Although, private schools’ tuition
is higher, don’t rule them out. Private school
can often offer enough financial aid to make their schools
affordable for students to attend.