College expenses are going up so, first, you can expect to pay more. From the 2008-09 academic year to the 2009-10 academic year college fees rose for both in- and out-of-state students at four-year public institutions–from $6,591 to $7,020 (up 6.5%) for in-state students. For out-of-state students at those same institutions, the costs rose from $17,400 to $18,548 (up 6.2%).
College costs rose for public two-year schools 7.3%. Private non-profits colleges’ tuition and fees increased 4.4%. And, for private for-profit colleges there was a 6.5% increase to $14,174 per year.
Luckily, few students and their parents pay full college costs. Here are some averages that may help you evaluate what you should be spending on college and that can help you weigh your financial aid package awards from schools accepting you. Note: Living costs and additional educational costs go into the aid award calculations.
The average financial aid award consists of loans, grants, and tax benefits. In the 2009-2010 school year for full-time students who attended 4-year universities, the average financial aid award was $5,410, bringing the average yearly cost for those students down to $1,600, this for in-state students. Financial aid last year for full-time students at private non-profit colleges was $14,400 bringing the average yearly cost down from $26,300 to $11,900. The aid given to students at two-year public schools was $3,000 which exceeded the average yearly cost of $2,500. Although these students could use their aid to help with living expenses, at the same time those living expenses rose considerably for two-year students.
One quarter of students attending college at 4-year schools pay below $6,000 a year in tuition and fees. Another quarter of students attending college go to schools that cost $21,000 or more.
Where do you fit?