College Tuition Costs and Comparisons

Make sure you squeeze all the value out of tuition!
Make sure you squeeze all the value out of tuition!

Are you interested in figuring out college tuition costs and comparisons to help you find the right school for you? Each year, millions of students apply and enroll in institutions of higher learning, and cost is a big factor. But is an expensive private school right for you? How does it compare to a similar public state school? Before signing up for classes or even accepting admission, looking at college tuition costs and comparisons can help you make the right choice for college life and for after-college costs.

Sticker Price Versus Affordability

The College Board highlights that college costs are increasing and that families can expect to pay between $108 and $1,398 more for college than they did the previous year. For students who don't have a lot of scholarships, this additional cost can be quite a burden. Many recent college graduates lament that the price of their education increased each year they were in college. How can you be sure that paying more money for your college is the best choice for you? Below are a few tips:

  • As a general rule of thumb, if you know you won't be receiving much aid and your family can't contribute a lot of money for college, try to stay away from schools that would cost more than $50,000 a year. While it may seem like your dream school, the student loans you have to pay when you graduate will surely shatter that dream!
  • Be realistic. Try to cut costs in the application process by not applying to dozens of schools. Apply only to the ones that you have a reasonable chance of getting into.
  • Doing your work now can pay off later. Keep your grades high so you will be eligible for academic awards, and start applying for as many scholarships as possible. It's never too early or too late!

College Tuition Costs and Comparisons

It sometimes can seem almost arbitrary; one school costs several thousand while another costs over $30,000. The following tips will help you compare and contrast what you would get for your money.


As the quality of learning is obviously the most important part of college, look into the type of education you would be getting for the cost. Can you get the same respectable degree from a public state school as you can from a smaller private school? Look into the faculty at each institution in your field of interest. Does one school have established and prolific masters of their fields while another only has adjunct professors with bachelor's degrees themselves? Look at the courses and their requirements. Does one school have very few requirements while another has very strict requirements? These should all factor into your choice and can help you justify a higher tuition costs sometimes.


There are colleges all across the world. However, sometimes college location can affect cost. Schools in larger, metropolitan areas, such as New York, often cost more than state schools in rural areas. If location is important to you, remember that it might factor into your college costs.

Adding It All Up

The College Board provides several calculators for families to try and figure out the economic burden of college. These calculators include:

  • Expected Family Contribution Calculator: This calculator can help you and your family figure out how much you are expected to pay for college based on your family income. Most college financial aid offices go by similar calculators.
  • College Costs Calculator: This tool will help you figure out how much college will cost when all expenses--tuition, books, fees, etc.--are considered.
  • College Savings Calculator: If your family has been saving for college, this tool will let you know if you have been saving enough.
  • 'Student Loan Calculator: This handy tool lets you see what your monthly repayments on a student loan would be if you took out 'x' amount.

Using these calculators can help you avoid attending a college that will put you in debt the rest of your life. With the rising costs of college, far too many undergrads are running into this problem. Don't be one of them!

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College Tuition Costs and Comparisons