Cost of Attendance – The Value of a College Degree

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Cost of Attendance – The Value of a College Degree

Your college or university will generally publish on its Web site or in its financial aid office the college’s cost of attendance for everyone to review and understand before they apply. This is an estimate of how much money will be required to attend school for one year at that college, including all reasonable expenses.

Most people, when budgeting for college, look at the tuition and assume that tuition is more or less the “price tag” for that school, when the reality is that tuition may be as little as 50% of the overall budget. Room and board, the cost of books and supplies, including computers and other equipment that may be needed must be added to make up the rest for a student who is living away from home on campus or in a rented apartment or house with a bunch of other students.

In the last twenty years the cost of attendance at college has more than doubled. In some cases depending on the school the cost of attendance has gone up as much as three times what it was twenty years ago. Fortunately the pay scale of jobs has gone up as well and this makes the value of a college degree all worthwhile providing that you can get a job when they graduate.

Most students do get jobs, however many are not in their field of study. These students need to work to pay off student loans and meet living expenses, so they will take what they can find for work. Thy branch out into all kinds of careers and often do very well.

Students understand the value of a college degree and they also know what the cost of attendance is as well. If they cannot get help from their parents for tuition and living expenses, they turn to part time jobs and student loans to help provide the funds they need to be able to attend college.

Most students will take a job if they can while in school to help pay for their living costs and tuition. They prefer to take this approach rather than borrow from their families or take out student loans. In the long run this is a good approach since it reduces their overall loans and debt when they graduate and it also builds character.

These students work at bars, in stores and even at the college to help make money while they are going to school. They learn how to budget and pay bills. They establish a credit rating and they learn about loans, about taxes and many other financial related issues.

Student loans are also very helpful and it can make the difference between going to university and not attending at all. Some student loans will be interest free while the student is in college or university, while others will have to pay interest throughout the time they are attending. These loans will depend on the state they live in, the university or college they are attending and a means test.

A means test compares the cost of attendance with the ability of the student or the family to pay for all of the costs associated with attending college. Some programs are designed to help those people who could not otherwise go to school. These are students who understand the value of a college degree but who cannot afford to pay the high cost of attendance. They may be from lower income families, single parent families or even students that dropped out for awhile and then decided to renter the education scene.

It is a difficult challenge, however every year many students borrow money and work at jobs to help them make it through college because they value the college degree so much.