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The cost of college has been rising every year since Harvard first opened its doors in 1636. In 2018 outstanding student loans is nearing $1.5 Trillion. Yes, not millions or even billions, but trillions!
This hits everyone hard, especially the middle class. They are often not rich enough to afford the full cost of tuition and not poor enough to qualify for subsidies. For the intellectually talented or those who excel in sports, a scholarship may be available. A very small minority even pay cash. For the rest, a student loan is the only option.
How Much Does a Bachelor’s Degree Cost in 2018?
Tuition covers just the academic side of college. You either pay a per-credit/class rate or a per semester rate. Students who pay per-semester get the better deal. Tuition at a four-year private college costs an average of $34,740. Public universities charge in-state students $9,970 and out-of-state students $25,620. During your time in school, expect the yearly price to increase by an average of 2.4% at private colleges and 3.2% at public colleges.
How Much Does an Associate’s Degree Cost in 2018?
Associate’s degrees take around two years to complete and the majority are earned at community/junior colleges. For associate’s degree students, the average cost of college tuition is just $3,570 per year at public institutions. Private two-year schools charge significantly more at $14,587.
How Much Does a Master’s Degree Cost in 2018?
Students take anywhere from two to five years to complete their master’s degree. The program’s cost heavily depends on the field of study and the type of college. As of 2018, the average master’s degree tuition cost is $8,670 at public universities and $29,960 at private universities.
Room and Board
The average price of housing and meals can vary depending on where you live and what school you go to. Students at public schools can expect to pay an average of $8,887 and those at private schools will pay an average of $10,089 per year.
Tip to Save $$$: If you live on campus your first year, you’ll probably have to buy the school’s meal plan. The convenience of getting meals on campus is probably the best bet. However, most schools offer other options, such as a lower amount of meals per week. After your first year you might want to ditch the meal plan all together. It’s often cheaper to buy inexpensive food on your own. Not the healthiest but Top Ramen is only 10 cents a piece.
Textbooks and Supplies
The average yearly cost of books for college students is $1,500. You might pay more if you’re a medical major, as these classes often have expensive textbooks that are continuously updated.
Tip to Save $$$: For some students, renting your textbooks by the week and only paying for what you need through a site like iflipd.com is the easiest way to save money. Computers and software can be a significant cost as well. Apple offer discounts to students. Also do your homework and check education discounts on other software, such as Adobe Acrobat for Photoshop and similar products.
The average student who lives on campus spends about $1,082 on transportation per year. Also remember that family of yours?! Well most students travel home around three times a year, Summer, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Check out the average airfares to determine how much you’ll spend. If you’re going to have a car at school, factor in gas, maintenance and parking.
Tip to Save $$$: Shop for flights months in advance. Plan your trips out and don’t wait until the last minute.
Some of these numbers may surprise you, and you’re not the only one. College has increased almost 500% in the past 10 years! If you do some simple math you’ll quickly understand that average salaries have NOT increased anywhere near 500% in the past 10 years.