You know you want to go to a four-year school. But are you ready to pay for it? There are a lot of expenses to consider when considering attending college. Don’t find yourself unprepared. Instead, get the answers to these important questions about college costs.
Q: What’s meant by the cost of attendance?
A: A school’s cost of attendance (COA) is the total college costs to attend the college for a year. The COA not only tells how much money you’ll need for tuition, but also for fees, room, board and other expenses. The COA is used in determining the financial aid for which you are eligible. COA varies from school to school.
Q: Tuition and fees are expensive, right?
A: Tuition and fees range in cost depending on which four-year school you choose to attend. You can control your out-of-pocket college costs through your choices.
According to the Federal Student Aid Web site, college costs about $9,500 to attend an in-state, four-year college for one year (add about $5,000 to that if your college of choice is out of state). A private four-year college will cost about $21,500 per year. ...Which makes what you’re paying at your current community college—an average of about $1,379 a year—sound very attractive.
As you’ve learned by now, tuition isn’t static—the college costs change each year. Keep tabs on any cost increases to avoid surprises.
Q: Is room and board included in the tuition price?
A: No. But you can choose how much you want to spend on this. Room costs depends on whether you live on campus, rent an apartment alone or with friends or live at home. Board refers to another highly variable but vital expense: food. You can pick a meal plan to fit your budget and hunger needs. You may be tempted to pick the plan with the most meals, but consider starting with a mid-size plan and upgrade later if necessary.
Q: Do I need to buy a computer?
A: Some four-year schools will require that you purchase a PC and Internet access. Some programs will give you a laptop to use while you’re in school. But most campuses have easy-to-access computer labs with enough computers to meet your needs. Make sure you know where all the labs are in case the one you frequent is full.
Q: What should I expect as far as transportation costs are concerned?
A: Costs can range from bus or subway fares to cross-country airfare. This is definitely one area to give some serious thought. Can you afford a car? Sure it would be nice to have that luxury, but don’t forget the expenses like gasoline, insurance and parking fees. If you are considering going to college in a different state, think about how often you can afford to come home. This may affect your choice of schools.
Q: What other college costs are there?
A: The cost of going to college includes a long list of expenses, many of which can be controlled to some extent. You can save yourself from devastating surprises if you do your research well. Be sure you understand and compare the fixed college costs for each school you are considering so you know exactly for what you must prepare. You don’t want to have to delay your education because you didn’t have all the facts about the cost of transferring to a four-year