Nowadays, both private non-profit colleges and public undergraduate institutions charge a lot higher than what they used to cost a few years ago. Therefore, as a student, understanding your college expenses is imperative as only then will you get a better sense of what you will potentially owe in student loans. This article as a highlighted the average charges of some colleges and the amounts students are likely to pay. Also, read on to discover the strategies you can use to pay your college tuition fees and other charges without having to struggle too much.

College Cost.

Statistics from the National Center for Education Statistics show that from the 2002/2003 to the 2012/2013 academic years, average college fees rose by 39 % in public undergraduate institutions and by 27 % in private nonprofit institutions.

As far as the statistics are concerned, it implies that the amount you will have to pay will largely depend on the type of school you choose. For instance, consider the following average annual college tuition fees, room and board charges in the 2012/2013 academic year drawn from the National Center for Education Statistics: 

  •  In a Public two-year institution- A student would pay a total cost of $8,928 with tuition and fees being $2,792, room charges being $3,247, and board services coming up to $2,889. 
  •  In a Public four-year Institution- You will pay $8,070 for tuition and fees, $5,241 as room charges, $4,163 as board charges all these add up to $17,474. 
  •  In Private for-profit Colleges- The total cost comes to $23,158 which includes $13,766 tuition and fees, $5,738 room charges, and $3,653 board service fees. 
  •  In Private non-profit four-year Colleges- You will incur a total $39,302 with tuition and fees being $28,746, room charges being $5,844, and board services $4,712.

So there you go. Knowing these costs will help you financially plan for college before reporting.

So on average, how much will you end up incurring?

While, in most cases, it is quite challenging to settle the total cost for any school, students can get financial aid from FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

After determining the amount your kin can pay for your college tuition charges, FAFSA may qualify you for both federal and state grants, and school grants. You will not be required to pay back the grants. FAFSA provides avenues for work-study covers and federal student loans to help you meet your college costs.

Again, if you fall into the category of those students with exceptionally high financial needs (there are laid-down procedures for determining this), you stand a chance of acquiring such types of financial aid as subsidized loans and Pell Grants.

The wise thing to do is apply to institutions which promise to meet your entire financial need. You can find out if they do this by calling their financial aid officers or just checking the school’s website.
Now the net price is total cost you will incur after all your grants and scholarships have paid up. Here is a look at average net price of the 2011/2012 academic year and the grants, loans and study funds allocated to students: 

  • In a Private non-profit four-year College- The net price was $18,100, loan awarded was $6,200, grants were $15,600, and work-study allocation was $700. 
  •  In Private for-profit colleges- The net price came up to $15,000, a total of $8,100 was allocated as a loan, grants were $4,100, and work-study $100. 
  • In Public two-year Colleges- Net price $9,900, loans $1,400, grants $3,400, and $100 worth of work-study. 
  • In Public four-year Colleges- The net price was $11,800, loans came to $4,500, grants were at $5,200, and work-study was at $200.Hopefully, you are getting some sense of the average cost you might pay.
    College cost varies from school to school.

In most cases, you will find a net price calculator on every college’s website. The calculator does college tuition cost estimations depending on a student’s financial profile. You can choose to settle the net price with your student loan or just use out-of-pocket funds.

There are other tools you can use to compare the net prices of various schools. One of such tools is the College Abacus that aggregates the net price calculators of the participating schools and allows users to compare the college tuition costs after they have answered some personalized questions. You can also use the College Scorecard that has links to several colleges’ net price calculators. You will also find information on graduation rates and annual costs on College Scorecard.

How to pay for College. 

First off, complete filling out the FAFSA. It is helping a lot of students. Then, try the best you can to take advantage of the federal government, state, and school scholarships and grants. Next, try acquiring the federal student loans before thinking of private student loans. This is because, among other reasons, federal student loans have flexible payback options and you can acquire them without a credit history. Understanding your college cost goes a long way to ease your life in school. You get to plan for the entire time you will be in school financially. This is very important. Hopefully, this article has been resourceful for you. 

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