The Real Cost of Your Education: Understanding College Expenses

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  • The fact that you have decided to go to college is extremely commendable.

    The kind of education and real life exposure you will get will serve you well throughout your adult life.

    However, you need to know that college isn’t cheap.

    Most people who went before you are now gainfully employed and still struggling to find ways to refinance student loans so they can pay them down as much as possible. College isn’t cheap but that doesn’t mean that you have to take everything at face value.

    If you’re going to pay thousands of dollars each year for your education, it behooves you to know what it is that you are paying for exactly.

    The Real Cost of College Education

    When it comes to understanding the real cost of your college education, there are five main categories that you need to take into consideration. These include:

    • Tuition and fees
    • Books and supplies
    • Room and board
    • Transportation
    • Personal expenses

    Let us take a closer look at each category to give you a clearer picture of what you can expect.

    Tuition and Fees

    Tuition is the reason why you are going to college. That is why one of the biggest expenses in college is tuition and fees. This is the price you pay to attend classes and take exams, get evaluated and graded. Basically, it is the money you pay to get all that knowledge transferred from your professors. How much it is exactly depends on a number of things including:

    • The kind of academic program
    • The number of credit hours
    • Whether you are an out-of-state or in-state student

    While it is true that tuition and fees vary from school to school, the average you can expect to pay for most private colleges hover around $35,000 per year. Public colleges on the other hand are a lot cheaper with their tuition and fees hovering around $10,000 for state students and $21,000 for out-of-state students. The more prestigious the school, the more expensive it will be.

    Books and Supplies

    Of course, you will need books and other supplies. Most colleges provide these for their students at a cost. The estimated cost for in-state students going to a public college could come to about $1,300.

    However, you can greatly reduce this cost by simply renting the necessary textbooks and literature from your local public library or buying used ones from former students.

    Room and Board

    This is yet another huge variable that affects the total cost of your college education. For people who are lucky enough to get accepted at a college that is within their city, the cheaper option would be to live at home with the parents. This will eliminate several expenses such as food and boarding fees. However, should you choose this option, you should know that you will be missing out on one of the main reasons why people go to college; the freedom to party like it’s 1999 everyday!

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    So, obviously the best choice would be to move out and live on your own. This comes with a number of options:

    • Are you going to be in a dorm or rent an apartment?
    • Will you have roommates or go it alone?
    • Will it be close to school or further away?

    You should know that renting any space near to your school will be quite expensive but if you choose to go further off you will still be making up that cost on transportation costs. You need to choose wisely and get roommates to reduce that cost.

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