What You Should Know About College Tuition Costs in the US

What You Should Know About College Tuition Costs in the US

Education is considered to be the best thing you can provide for your child. However, the cost of putting your child through college, especially in America, is becoming a stumbling block. The prices are skyrocketing and will only continue getting higher. According to research, it will cost a total of $162,818 to attend a public college in 2036.

Furthermore, it is estimated that private college tuition will cost $303,503 in 2036, and parents will spend $162,818 for an in-state public college in 2036. That means they have to start saving money as soon as possible.

If you are a parent or a future college student, read on to find out more about college tuition and what you can expect.

How Much Is College Tuition?

Fees and tuition are different for each college. During the last three decades, the cost of attending a college has increased eight times faster than salaries. Most of these costs coincide with the emergence of the recession.

Additionally, the cost also differs from state to state. According to the reports, the average cost of college in New Hampshire is $16,070, while college tuition in Wyoming costs $5,220 on average.

Prospective students should check the prices beforehand as tuition listed may not be the precise amount they will pay after financial aid and institutional grants get deducted.

What Is the Difference Between Fees and Tuition?

The most substantial part of college costs is tuition, which is the amount of money required for instruction. Fees, on the other hand, are paid to enroll in college and attend classes.

Commonly, all should be referred to as tuition. However, some colleges split the payments into fees and tuition to make increments easier to implement.

According to research, that leads to a 2.6% increase in tuition every year. As a result, students will take out more loans to finish college. Already about 44 million borrowers owe $1.5 trillion in student loans.

How Do I Use a Tuition Calculator?

The cost of attendance, which includes fees, tuition, and other school-related expenses, is not always easy to calculate. That is because most students do not end up paying the advertised price the moment institutional grants and financial aid are included in the bill.

In the previous year, even with grants and scholarships, the average net price of tuition that students attending private universities paid was $14,610. Students should fill out the net price calculator on the websites of the schools they want to attend to have the best possible understanding of the costs involved.

Net price is generally defined as the amount of money paid by a student to attend college for an academic year, where grants and scholarships are not included. It can be calculated online based on the information a student or parent provides. William Prince University (WPU), for example, has an online tool for calculating the net price.

Which Colleges Are the Least Expensive?

Based on research, attending a state school as an in-state student might be the least expensive option, and schools in Wyoming are a good choice in that regard. This is mainly because in-state students at a public college pay an average of $9,970 in fees and tuition yearly. Out-of-state students, on the other hand, pay $25,620 annually.

The situation is different for private colleges, as tuition is, on average, $34,740 per year. However, the least expensive private college in the US is Brigham Young University Provo, where the cost of tuition is $5,620 yearly.

Students also attend state schools to get access to scholarships, while those who decide to go out of state for college do not have this option.

Which Colleges Are the Most Expensive?

It is essential for students to pay attention not just to sticker prices but also to the net price. This is because some schools may appear costlier, but end up charging less on average.

According to reports, in-state students in Vermont pay $8,190 and $16,610 for two-year and four-year colleges, respectively. At the same time, the most expensive private college in the US is Columbia University (NY), with a tuition cost of $59,430.

Are There States and Schools with Tuition-Free College Programs?

Some states and colleges are tuition-free, but there are usually specific criteria that students must meet. Some of these include:

  • Students must reside in the state where the college is located.
  • Students must come from a low-income background.

Presently, tuition-free colleges are available in 11 states. Most of the time, in exchange for tuition-free enrolment, these colleges require service after graduation or on-campus work from students. It is, however, important to note that international students are not eligible for tuition-free college. They can only reduce the cost of tuition by paying flat-rate in-state tuition or banded tuition.

Is There a Way to Pay Less for College?

There are ways in which students can pay less for college, and one of them is federal student loans. This is because such loans have a low and fixed interest rate, while private student loans tend to have higher interest rates.

The continuous increase in college tuition costs also means an increasing number of student loan applications. That has brought about the student debt crises in the US. The state that is in the lead in that regard is California, with a total of $111.7 billion in student loans.

According to experts, 66% of the borrowers from public colleges and 88% of those from for-profit colleges have student loan debts.


With your current knowledge of college costs, it is reasonable to have some doubts as to whether you or your children, if you are a parent reading this, will be able to attend college.

Research shows that a large number of parents, especially mothers, are thinking about saving up before their children enroll in college. As a matter of fact, 44% of parents wish they started saving for college sooner. It is, however, important to know that knowledge gained is priceless, and the increase in tuition costs should not be a stumbling block to getting educated.

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