Education Encyclopedia - StateUniversity.com » Paying for College

College Tuition Comparison

college tuition comparison

With the cost of attending college on the rise, it is necessary that students do college tuition comparison research to make sure they can afford the schools on their wish list.

Tuition Prices for Colleges Are on the Rise

For the 2008-2009 academic year, tuition, room and board averaged $12,200, with private school tuition averaging $31,233, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. During the past decade, tuition room and board costs rose 32 percent and 24 percent at public and private colleges, respectively, the center’s research showed.

What Goes into Tuition?

Tuition is the leading cost of the price of a college education. It will vary based on major, with some fields requiring extra fees like a lab or studio fee. Most schools post both tuition fees for full-time students, which cover total costs, and costs for part-time students, which are usually calculated by credit hour taken. Tuition payments go directly to pay for faculty, staff and administration salaries, courses, equipment, computers, the library, facilities and other parts of the educational experience.

Best Sources for College Tuition Comparisons

With costs escalating at such a high rate, college tuition research is an essential part of the selection process. To that end, there are a number of tools available to help students research the costs of going to various schools. For starters, the schools’ websites all include a section that states the tuition along with the room and board for attending school. Ithaca College’s website states the tuition, room, board, and accident and health insurance fees, along with information for graduate and other special programs at the school. The individual school websites will always be the best sources to do a college tuition comparison because they will contain the most up-to-date information.

Financial Aid Comparisons

When doing a college tuition comparison, it is important to research what the schools give for financial aid. On Harvard University’s website, the school gives a wealth of information about its financial aid packages, including a host of details on the college’s need-based aid program. Many schools have similar pages on their websites. Financial aid information is something to to be taken into consideration when doing a college tuition comparison, and there is no better source than the individual school websites for this information.

Other Options for College Tuition Comparisons

Not every student doing a college tuition comparison may need the in-depth information that the individual school websites provide, and spending time on the internet searching through each one could waste valuable time. For those students looking to conduct a basic college tuition comparison, there are many other options available.

On the CNN/Money website, a student can find the annual cost of all of the 4-year schools in the United States by searching for school name, part of a school name or state. Though the searchable database is not as up-to-date as the school websites, it allows for fast searches without having to visit and look through a lot of different websites. The database includes tuition, fees, room and board, and room-only costs.

Other websites with similar college tuition comparison research tools are also available.

Important Factors to Consider When Doing a College Tuition Comparison

When students do a college tuition comparison, the ultimate goal is to find the college that is best for them. The campus, the academic programs, the culture and the extra-curricular activities are all important things to consider. But no student should select a college without first doing a college tuition comparison to compare the costs of different schools through graduation. Also, students should factor in the prices of other costs of attending school, including possibly living off-campus, food, supplies, laundry, and the other daily costs of life.

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