The Costs of College and How to Afford Them

Going to college is an exciting experience regardless of if this is your first degree or the second. With a new degree comes new opportunities for both learning and your career options. But there’s one thing that’s getting in the way of your excitement; the costs. It’s no secret that college is a big investment, but that doesn’t mean it should be an uphill battle to afford it. In this post, we’ll be covering the costs of college and how you can afford them.

Ways to Afford College

Having a good idea of how you can afford college is the best thing to start with. Although you’ll be spending thousands regardless of your chosen degree program, the price will vary. There are some degrees that are generally more expensive than others and others that are cheaper to afford. Thankfully, you can get access to the education you need in a variety of ways. The first and most common method is taking out Earnest student loans. Student loans are a lump sum of money that’s used to finance a college education. Once you graduated and the grace period ends, you’ll be expected by the lender to pay back what you owe.

How much you get from student loans is determined by what you’ve filled out on your FAFSA. This form goes over your expected family contribution (EFC) and cost of attendance (COA). The COA is the cost of your program. The EFC is a little different; it’s what you and other family members can put towards it. The amount of money you can contribute and the price of your degree are then deducted from each other to determine how much you’re eligible for. If you’re aiming for a more advanced degree, then you’ll most likely be eligible for more than what you would with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. The drawback of this that the debt you accrue can be very difficult to pay back. This is mostly because of the unpredictable nature of interest rates.

If you’re looking for a debt-free solution, you’re in luck. This is what scholarships are for. Scholarships are government-regulated financial award that’s specifically used toward a student’s college education. This can help you eventually achieve financial security in retirement because you will be starting off your post-collegiate life without massive debts to repay.

It’s possible to be awarded these if you were a star student in high school, but they’re not exclusive. Anybody can get one by using an online search and application platform. However, you need to remember that scholarships aren’t always going to cover everything. Some of them may only cover up to half the price. You’ll have to sort through your options until you find what works best. Furthermore, you absolutely must get the best grades possible if you go this route. Having one bad grade here and there is one thing, but consistent failures could result in your scholarship’s cancellation.

The Various Costs of College

College has more to finance than just the tuition costs. There are a lot of other expenses you need to factor in. Granted, these do depend on how you go about your program. Below are the common costs of college:

  • Room and Board: Despite having more access to college by doing it online, not everyone prefers to go this route. Some would rather live on a college campus and build their own independence. However, this is no different than moving out into your own place. You’re going to be spending some of your time at the cafeteria, grocery store and hangout spots. The cost of room and board varies on the college you go to, but it is factored into your COA for FAFSA.
  • School Supplies: Supplies, like backpacks, folders and college textbooks, can cost you more than you think. College textbooks can cost an average of $60 to as much as $300. And you have to pay something around these amounts every term. The average amount of money students spend on supplies is around $1,300 or more, so make sure to budget accordingly.
  • School Equipment: It used to be that all you needed to fund was the tuition and textbooks. These days, however, technology reigns supreme. That said, you’re going to need a good desktop computer or laptop for your coursework. This can be considered to be an optional cost as most people these days have their own computer. But if you don’t or are looking to buy another one, this is the perfect opportunity to do so. Remember to review your program’s curriculum and the classes you’ll be taking. Some may require a computer with very specific specs.