How Much Does College Cost?

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$ Community Colleges: $4,000-$30,000+ $ $ State Colleges for Residents: $4,000-$16,000+ $ $ $ Private Colleges: $25,000-$40,000+

College expenses are many, and tuition is just one of them.

That is why to award financial aid and scholarships; each school is predicting the cost of attendance for a typical student if he or she goes for a full academic year.

In general, the cost of attendance is based on the estimates of tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, as well as transportation and personal expenses.

Typical Costs

The two-year programs of the public community colleges, including tuition and fees, usually cost $1,000-$12,000 or more per year for state residents and between $4,000 and $30,000 or more for out-of-state students.

The full-time undergraduate tuition and fees per year at a four-year public college or university can reach $4,000-$16,000 or more for state residents and $10,000-$35,000 or more for out-of-state students.

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The sum depends on the location and school, as well as the program of study.

In the public universities in Texas, for example, 2013-2014 tuition and fees are $4,446-$11,806 for residents and $9,714-$33,128 for non-residents, with an average of $7,625 for residents and $18,251 for non-residents.

At the Oregon University System 2013-2014 tuition for state residents is $6,856-$9,310 and for out-of-state students it is $15,720-$23,670.

Another example is the University of Cincinnati, where full-time annual undergraduate tuition is $5,890-$10,784 for Ohio residents and $14,516-$25,816 for out-of-state students.

The cost of attendance for public colleges and universities could reach $10,000-$30,000 or more for state residents and $15,000-$55,000 or more for out-of-state students, based on the school and the living arrangements, as well as the local cost of living.

Edison State College in southwest Florida, for example, has a cost of attendance of $16,245 for residents and $28,864 for out-of-state students.

At the same time in Oklahoma public colleges and universities, the average cost of attendance is $11,163-$16,588 for residents and $17,916-$28,414 for non-residents.

Another example is the Oregon University System, where the average undergraduate student budget is $21,766 for residents and $35,888 for out-of-state students.

The undergraduate tuition and fees per year at private four-year colleges and universities cost $25,000-$45,000 or more.

The undergraduate tuition and fees for the 2013-2014 school year are $27,890 at Wilmington College in Ohio; $38,891 at Harvard; $42,690 at Stanford and $44,000 at Yale.

The estimated cost of attendance for private colleges and universities can be $50,000-$70,000 or more.

The total estimated cost of attendance for undergraduate students for the 2013-2014 school year is $60,460 at Brown University in Rhode Island; compared to $59,950-$65,150 at Harvard; $60,900 at Yale; and $60,749 at Stanford.

Most schools provide an online net price calculator, which allows both students and parents to enter basic information and estimate the approximate total amount they might be responsible for paying after getting a typical grant and scholarship aid.

Such net price calculators are available for the University of Michigan, the City University of New York, and for Harvard.

Additional Costs

The students who are attending a college or university far from home, travel costs can add a few hundred to several thousand dollars to the total annual cost, based on distance, mode of transportation and the number of trips made.


  • There is a free application for federal student aid available online, while the US Department of Education offers an overview of federal financial aid programs.
  • Students with top test scores and grades may be eligible for extensive financial assistance at top colleges.
  • The financial aid office at each school can provide detailed information about the available state, local and private assistance, such as loans, grants and scholarships.
  • The less prestigious school might offer a top student merit-based grants and scholarships that secure a much more extensive financial assistance package compared to the elite campus, making the less-prestigious school a better choice.
  • Most college students traditionally graduate after four years, yet some take five years to complete certain programs, or there might be budget cuts that make it difficult to sign up for classes required by a specific major.

Shopping for College

  • Make a list of requirements to narrow down the possibilities.
  • Go on an on-campus visit.
  • Check the factors posted by The New York State Higher Education Services Corporation to consider when choosing a college.
  • The National Center for Education Statistics provides an online college navigator to locate potential schools divided by types of degrees, campus setting, size of enrollment, etc.

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