College Costs… and Discount Rates
Learn some of the basics of college costs, discount rates, and types of financial aid.
College costs keep rising annually — several percentage points from the previous year — and often outpacing the rate of inflation. These increasing costs put increasing pressure on students and families to find innovative methods for paying for college.
But the numbers may also not be as duanting as the popular press likes you to believe. According to the College Board, about half of all four-year colleges and universities have an annual undergraduate tuition under $9,000.
But college costs include more than just tuition when the student is living on campus — you need to add room and board costs.
- Tuition is the amount of money charged by a school for classroom and other instruction. Some public universities charge two different tuition rates, one for in-state and the other for out-of-state students.
- Room and board refers to fees related to housing (residence hall/dormitory) and food (meal plans).
The good news is that very few students pay the full price for a college education because of something called discount rates. In fact, about two-thirds of undergraduates enrolled full-time receive financial aid from their university, federal or state government sources,and/or from employers or other private sources. And according to the College Board, full-time undergraduate students receive — on average — about $9,000 of financial aid per year in the form of grants and tax benefits in private four-year institutions, $3,100 in public four-year institutions, and $2,200 in public two-year colleges.
What are the major forms of financial aid?
- Student Loans
- College Grants & Scholarships
- State Sources of Aid
- Independent Grants & Scholarships
Read some interesting ideas for saving money in 34 Ways to Reduce College Costs, from Student Aid on the Web, a government-sponsored site.
Need help with any of the terms described on this page? If so, find the answers in our High School College-Bound and College Planning Glossary.
Return to the main page of the College Planning Tutorial.
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