Attending College – Average Costs

In today’s society when people think about the cost of attending college in 2012 it is often times associated with stress, collections, and heart attacks. I know whenever I hear about the rise in tuition I immediately feel a sudden tug at my heart and find myself being glad that this particular phase of my life is over and I don’t have to worry about this again until I decide to have children of my own. It also makes me wonder how high the average university will cost by the time my own future kids are ready to make that transition in let’s say the year 2030? It almost makes a person not want to have kids.

According to the US Department of Education National Center for Education Statistics the average cost for college tuition rose 42 percent from the 2001- 2011 school years. The average cost for a moderate college budget for in state public college last year from 2011-2012 was $21,447 per year. If you have been attending private schools your whole life and wish to continue doing so at a higher level such as Stanford, Yale, or Harvard, the cost is going to turn your stomach in knots even more.

For a private university the average cost of in state tuition last year was $42,224. Some of you may ask, where does all of the money go? For that price I would like entry into the school, someone to drive me around campus on my own personal scooter, cliff notes for every class, and a guaranteed minimum B average on every exam. Since none of that is possible in reality, lets break down all that is really included.

The bulk of cost for the average college goes towards the tuition alone. Tuition includes the cost of each class you take whether you are on the semester system, or quarter system. Fees are also the large part of the average cost of attending college. Often times it is titled “Tuition & Fees.”  Fees include a number of things such as library use, ID cards, health insurance, and recreation center facility use just to name a few.

The average cost for just tuition and fees alone for a California State University for this upcoming 2012-2013 school year is $7,025 compared to $13,200 at University of California and $32,100 for independent colleges such as Chapman, Azusa Pacific, or Loyola Marymount University. All of these fees are not taking into consideration out of state costs. If you are not a resident of California, that is if your parents are not taxpayers of the state, then you can expect to not only cough up a lung, but pay up to double of the cost listed above.

Along with tuition and fees, a bulk of the average cost for college in today’s society goes toward room and board. For in state students, California State University room and board for this upcoming school year averaged out to be $10,924 while University of California room and board came up to $13,400. Independent college living expenses topped off at $13,070 for the 2012-2013 academic year.  Clearly the cost of living in California is not only pocket breaking for home owners but the students as well. Room and board for schools in Texas for example were much lower. For all institutions, public, private, and independent in Texas, the living expenses ranged anywhere between $5,000 to $9,000.

When analyzing cost of college you can be sure that books and supplies will be covered in your expenses as well. The cost to publish textbooks and other printed materials such as the syllabus all come at a very high price. As far as supplies one might ask what does this include?  You may figure that as long as you can provide your own pen, number two pencil, and notebook that you should be good to go. That is not the case, however. Many classes need supplies such as science materials or computers, therefore those fees will be included under the category of books and supplies. According to California State Universities pay an average of $1,666 per year, University of California institutions at $1,550, and Independent Colleges at $1,650.

The final part of college tuition includes miscellaneous dues. Miscellaneous varies from college to college but typically it includes any personal expenses one may need to get by, groceries, hygiene, etc. It also includes entertainment. We all know the college years are our first normally away from home and out from under the watchful eyes of parents, so entertainment make up a large portion of the regular college student’s nightlife whether it is simply going to the movies, or hitting Hollywood for the club scene.

Miscellaneous expenses also include transportation, both personal gas money and public transportation. After recent months, we all know gas has been the center cause of our headaches for sometime. This is no different for the college student on the go. Many colleges also average in health care as part of their miscellaneous fees. Whether your parents have health care or not, while you are a college student you can be taken care of at your university’s health center. At California State University miscellaneous fees ranked in at $3,829 compared to $3,550 at University of California institutions and, $3,650 for independent colleges.

It is no secret that the average cost for attending college in today’s society is pocket breaking. Luckily, there are ways to offset some of these costs. As most know all of these costs do not have to always be paid out of your own personal pocket. For many they never pay a dime of their own money towards college education. Financial aid, grants, scholarships, and students loans are all resources available to help individuals receive a higher education equal to those who can pay out of pocket.

You can often times receive a free education if you happen to have specific talents such as musically, artistically, athletically, or intellectually. Although these are the most popular ways to receive free money for school, they are not the only ways. You can always do an internet search to find out what other type of scholarships are available. Sometimes you can receive money towards your tuition merely based on your living situation or ethnic background. Do your research and you can minimize these high costs for colleges for the upcoming school year.