Parents with college bound high school children have already given some thought to how much a college education will cost. It’s hard to estimate exactly, but some ballpark numbers can be obtained from the colleges being considered.
What Costs Are Involved for College?
* Tuition – semester classes are typically 2-4 credit hours, and fees are usually charged per credit hour. The least expensive credit hour fees are generally at local community colleges. Most all colleges and universities charge more per credit hour to out of state students than in-state residents. Some courses also have associated lab fees.
* Course Materials – this includes textbooks and supplies and the cost varies per course. Most students also have laptop computers to use for completion of their course assignments.
* Housing and Meals – cost again will vary based on whether a student lives on campus or off. Typically, freshman students are required to live on campus throughout their first year unless they reside in town with parents or relatives. Meal plans are offered through campus dining halls. Eating out every day can be expensive, so most students opt for a dining plan or have an apartment with cooking facilities.
* College Sports – if your student plans to participate in sports or cheerleading, there are most likely fees associated for uniforms, travel, equipment, mandatory clinics, and so forth.
In addition to direct school expenses, there is still the need for clothing, transportation, incidentals, and spending money. If your student plans to participate in campus extra-curricular activities such as clubs or Greek life, there will be additional expenses for membership dues.
Don’t panic when you get a bottom line cost per semester or year of college. Many universities and colleges allow parents to make payments rather than coming up with one large lump sum of money.
Remember, too, there is the possibility of financial aid, student loans, work study programs, and scholarships for eligible candidates. For information on financial planning for college, help can be obtained by contacting the financial aid or bursar’s office where your student is planning to attend school. It is highly advised not to wait until the last minute to start making arrangements for payment of college expenses.