Here at Go Financial Aid, we usually talk about how to receive help in affording college.  Well, let’s switch gears a bit and just talk about paying for it, period.  Financial aid is a necessity for most of us in our college years, but it’s important to make sense of education costs in a general sense as well.  This leads us to the subject of college tuition.  Tuition is the money you pay to attend courses at an educational institution.  Translation: what you pay to sit in class and learn from Drs. W, X, Y and Z.  Speaking of that, did you know that each 50-minute class session is worth about $50?  That’s a personal tidbit from a college orientation lecture.  Given that fact, we definitely cannot emphasize enough how important it is not to skip class.

Moving on.  Generally speaking, college tuition simply covers those classes.  Living on campus, eating from a college cafeteria using a meal plan and some course lab fees are all separate.  These additional fees will usually add a sizable chunk of cash to your annual total, but financial aid covers tuition because it’s the biggie on the college bill.By now you might be thinking, “Enough already; just tell me how much.”  Well, it’s not that simple.  For one thing, individual tuition rates are set by each college.  Your best friend might be going to a school that equals yours in every respect, but pays less.  It just depends on the institution.  The second thing is the type of university you’re attending.  In terms of 4-year schools, there are two types: public and private.  The two differ in how the institution is funded, and thus how much you will pay to attend.

  • Public universities.  Examples: Pitt, Penn State, Slippery Rock.  Public schools get money from their local, state government to aid in operation.  These schools are paid for by state taxpayers.  Given that in-state students have already paid their taxes, tuition is usually lower for them at public universities, ranging between $5,000 and $10,000 per academic year.  You may wonder why it’s common to see out-of-state tuition rates differing so vastly from in-state costs.  Well, out-of-state students have not paid the aforementioned state taxes, so they can expect to pay $15,000 and $25,000 a year to cover their state residency while in school.  As unfair as it seems to all of us when we’re thinking about college choices, it does make sense.
  • Private universities.  Examples: MIT, Notre Dame, Carnegie Mellon.  Now, everyone and their mother has heard that private colleges cost more money.  This is true.  Unlike public schools which thrive on tax dollars and government assistance, private learning institutions rely on direct contributions.  This funding comes from current students as well as alumni, in the form of grants and endowments.  Given all of this, students can expect to pay 9-10 times more money to attend a private school than they would at a public one.  Tuition is constant, however, regardless of your state of residence, and an individual student may pay $21,000-$40,000 per year of study.

In all seriousness, don’t let the price disparity discourage you from considering a private school, however.  True, you’ll pay more for tuition, but in most cases the higher tuition cost qualifies students for more financial aid.  In a sense, it balances out.There’s a quick run-down for you.  When it comes to college tuition, it’s important to give consideration to the type of school and whether you’re a state resident.  But ultimately, college choice depends on personal preferences.  Questions?  Check our solutions page or send us a message.  Good luck!

Categories: College Planning | Financial Aid
Tags: college tuition private university public university tuition

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