How Can I Compare College Tuition Prices?
Are you considering going to college, but don't know if you can afford it? Would you like to learn more about college tuition prices without leaving home? Tuition costs are as varied as there are institutes of higher learning, and since most colleges boast comprehensive websites, information regarding their tuition can be accessed online. Read below to learn about more options!
Explore Average Tuition Prices
The type of college you chose has a big impact on tuition. For example, College Board, the non-profit organization that produces the SAT, reports that some private colleges cost more than $35,000 per year (www.collegeboard.org). However, it also estimates that approximately 47% of all college students attending a 4-year university pay $9,000 or less per year for tuition and fees. Community colleges, on the other hand, only have an average tuition rate of $2,713. Also remember to factor in fees when you are looking at college prices, such as room and board, meals, books and school supplies, transportation and personal expenses like laundry and cell phone usage - these also vary greatly by school!
Investigate In-Residence Tuition
Public 2-year and 4-year colleges are typically affiliated and partially funded by either the state where they are located or a local county, so there may be a significant savings if you attend one of these schools within your own area. College Board reports that the average tuition for an in-state resident at a 4-year public school is $7,605, while the average tuition for out-of-state students at these same schools is $11,990. Also, if you go to a school near home you don't have to pay for room and board!
Look at Best Value Rankings
You may also want to consider looking at educational, news and personal finance websites that regularly rate colleges throughout the nation, judging them particularly on value. Kiplinger, U.S. News & World Report and the Princeton Review are three such organizations that issue special reports on the best value schools, both public and private. Their rankings typically look beyond tuition costs and factor in average SAT scores, enrollment, faculty-to-student ratios, graduation rates and average post-graduate debt.
Visit Tuition Comparison Websites
There are several websites available that allow you to search for and compare schools by their tuition and fees. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) website, for example, allows you to search all accredited schools in the U.S. by state, enrollment, published tuition, student aid options and graduation rate. The College Board website is also a great source for you to find out information not only on tuition prices, but also information on scholarships, financial aid and student loans. This site also features a net price calculator that can figure out tuition costs after factoring in other out of pocket expenses such as room and board and meal plans. While its listing of colleges is somewhat limited, it can give you a good idea of net costs at other schools.