How Much Does College Cost? Here’s A Simple English Answer!

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How Much Does College Cost?

Entering college, you should be ready to pay lots of money as it requires not only tuition bills but a variety of other payments.

The list of payments and bills includes accommodation, transportations, food, books and so on.

Of course, all these points add much cost to your education but there is no reason for panic.

We’ve prepared for you a guide on how you can save money during your education in the college.

In this guide, we’ve collected all the expenses you may have each year during your studies.

Usually, your expenses include such points as tuition, fees, room, and board that is about $17 000-$29 600 per year depending on whether you are a student of an in-state or out-of-state public school.

Students of a private school may even spend as much as $38 500 annually.

Adding such aspects as personal expenses, transportation, supplies, and books, the expenses increase up to $21 500 for in-state students, $34 000 for out-of-state students, $42 000 for private college students.

It can be really hard to understand and deal with.

Nevertheless, using our detailed guide, you can manage your expenses and complete your studies without paying a fortune for it.

Tuition Payment and Related Fees

Tuition – it is a payment that covers the cost of all your classes while fees – it is payments that you pay for athletics, the student health center, and so on.

In fact, the amount of these payments and fees may vary by tens of thousands of dollars and significantly depends on your school of choice.

On average, you need to pay about $8 244 for your tuition including various fees.

However, the sum can be as high as $20 770 (for out-of-state students) or even $28 500 (for private college students).

Usually, it is the biggest part of your expenses as a student.

Ways to Save Some Money

If you want to save some money when it comes to tuition and fees, the best option is to obtain a scholarship.

You just need to make your research and you’ll be able to find some available scholarship options that you can be eligible for.

If you cannot apply for the school of your dream because of a lack of money, you can apply for an in-state or two-year school and later transfer to the one you like.

It will allow you to pay twice less for education at the school you like.

Accommodation and Meals

There are lots of aspects that can influence the price of housing and meals and your location is one of the most important aspects.

If you are a student of a public school it may cost you about $8 887 while students of a private school can pay about $10 089 per year.

These prices are based on the cost of rooms in dorms on campus.

If you want to live in a Greek house or some rental apartment, the expenses will be higher.

In this case, the best option to save some money is to stay living with your parents.

Ways to Save Some Money

If you decide to stay at a dorm during your first year in college, you should consider buying a meal plan.

It is a perfect opportunity to reduce your expenses significantly during your freshman year.

There are some schools that offer a lower amount of meals weekly but it is great only for those who are ready to prepare their own meal on weekends.

After the first year, it is better to buy food on your own as the meal plan can be much more expensive.

Books and Supplies

When it comes to books and supplies, your average yearly expenses can be about $1 200.

In case, your major is science, your expenses can be higher as you may need to buy more expensive books that should be updated annually.

At the same time, English majors need less money to buy their books as most novels are quite cheap.

Ways to Save Some Money

When it comes to buying textbooks, you can save lots of money renting or buying used books through such websites as, or

One other great option is where you can download thousands of books including various novels for free.

Also, after completing a course, you can always sell the books you don’t need.

You can address a bookstore or use online services, to do it.

One other significant part of your expenses is a computer and software.

There are companies such as Apple and Dell that are ready to offer some discounts for students.

Also, you need to check such services as Best Buy, Costco and Amazon.

When it comes to software, there are such companies as Microsoft and Adobe Acrobat that offer software for students on smaller prices.


If you decide to live on campus, you can spend on your transportation about $1 082 per year.

However, it depends on numerous aspects.

For example, if you live right near the university, it will cost you nothing to get there but if you have to fly to visit your family, you can spend thousands of dollars.

According to Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of and, usually, students visit their families twice a year during winter and summer breaks.

Also, there are students that visit their home 4 times a year during summer, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and spring break.

So, if you need to fly to get home, learn about the cost of flight tickets offered by various companies.

If you have a car, you need to consider such aspects as gas, maintenance, and parking.

Some colleges require their students to pay an hourly rate for parking or buy a parking pass.

In case, you don’t have a car but still, plan to do some off-campus trips, you need to consider the price of public transportations.

Ways to Save Some Money

If you want to save when it comes to flight tickets, you need to book them months in advance and keep in mind that it is better to buy tickets on a Tuesday afternoon.

According to, it is the time when they are the cheapest.

When it comes to your car, you can use to find gas stations with the lowest prices.

Also, make sure to make the maintenance regular as if your car breaks down the repair will cost you much more.

Other Expenses

There is a bunch of other expenses you need to take into consideration as well.

The list includes such points as laundry, entertainment, cell phone services, and so on.

Annually, you can spend about $2000 on all these things.

Also, the author of “How to Pay for College Without Going Broke” Reecy Aresty claims that some new students may face such issue as “start-up” expenses.

For example, students that need to move to another climatic zone during their education, are obliged to invest in new clothes.

Ways to Save Some Money is a perfect opportunity to save some money as it allows you to securely pull your credit card and bank account info together, analyze all the expenses, and find ways to reduce them.

It will help you understand what your expenses require most money.

When it comes to cell phone expenses, Schrage offers such options as “going on a family plan, negotiating with your provider, cutting back on unnecessary features, and going with the base model plan or even a pay-per-minute plan.”

One other point is entertainments and “you need to take advantage of every free form of entertainment that there is at your school, including attending free campus sporting events, concerts, and guest lectures.”

In fact, college expenses can be pretty much devastating but it doesn’t mean you won’t be able to deal with it.

Just make sure to plan everything properly, apply for scholarships and financial aid, and everything will be OK.

College Housing Options: Pros & Cons

As soon as you’ve made a decision about your college, you need to think about accommodation if you don’t plan to stay at your parents’ house.

There is a variety of options to resolve this issue depending on your budget.

If you want to learn about the available offers you should take into consideration, learn the info below.

Residence Hall

Most first-year students give preference to residence halls that are also called dorms.

It is a great option and a perfect opportunity to meet new people not only in your classroom.

Moreover, dorms often provide meal plans that are a great advantage.

Also, you’ll never be bored living there as in campus housing provides lots of entertainment options and study groups, and you don’t need to worry about transportation as they are conveniently located.

It’s a great option for anyone who wants to get immersed in their college life.

If you are a freshman, it is a great decision as you can meet new people even in case it’s your first time in this city and you know no one.

Speaking of disadvantages, dorms are noisy and rooms there are small and poorly furnished as well as cannot provide you with enough privacy.

Living in a dorm, you are going to live with a roommate who’ll probably be your first friend.

As you understand, living in a dorm has its own advantages and disadvantages and it’s up to you to make a decision but you should know that it can be the best opportunity to taste your college life.

Greek House

The freshman members of a fraternity or sorority have an opportunity to live in a Greek house.

However, in some colleges, you can start living in a Greek house only if you are a sophomore.

It is a great opportunity to live with like-minded people who are your friends.

Also, as a member of a fraternity or sorority, you are going to participate in a whole variety of social activities.

If you aren’t the most sociable personality, it’s a perfect option for you.

Moreover, there are cooks or house mothers in such places but in some cases, you may be obliged to prepare food on your own.

Mostly, Greek houses tend to bundle all expenses into 1 general fee.


If you decide to rent an apartment, you may need to look for some roommates and set rules.

It is a perfect option if you want to have your private space and some opportunity to separate from school.

You just need to make some good choices and you’ll be able to get some inexpensive accommodation.

Also, living in an apartment, you can have fewer restrictions than in a dorm.

Just keep in mind that this option leads to numerous responsibilities.

First of all, you’ll be obliged to deal with such aspects as shopping, cooking, cleaning and so on.

Also, you should be able to pay rent, as well as utilities and various bills.

If it is far from your college, you also need to manage your transportations.

Parents’ Home

If you can and want to stay at your parents’ house, it can help you avoid numerous problems including moving issues.

Also, it can be easier to adjust to your college life as you can live in familiar as well as your private environment.

Moreover, you have an opportunity to pay more attention to your studies as you won’t get distracted by campus life.

Nevertheless, you won’t be able to have full college-life experience while living with your parents.

There will be only minimal interaction with other students out of classes.

However, living with your parents, you can reduce your expenses as much as even possible.

College Alternative

College is not for everyone.

many people are looking for something else and want to follow a different path.

If you’re looking for an alternative, read more here:

Good luck!

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