What Goes into the Cost of College?
- Tuition and Fees
- Colleges charge tuition for the instruction they provide. Tuition at public colleges is often a bargain for state residents, but not for out-of-state residents, who often pay double the tuition of residents. In addition to tuition, colleges charge a variety of fees including, but not limited to, ID cards, athletic facility usage, laboratory supplies, computer access, student activities, library access, and parking passes. The cost for one year of tuition and fees varies widely among colleges.
- Housing and Meals
- The cost of room and board depends on the housing and food plans you choose. On-campus housing can come in various sizes and shapes, including dorm or apartment-style housing and meal plans. Housing and meal options are usually available separately, so that you may live off campus but choose to have your meals on campus.
- Books and School Supplies
- In addition to textbooks, typical school supplies include printed class materials, extra required reading materials (such as classic novels for an English class), reference books, and the usual office supplies (such as pens, pencils, file folders, and notebooks).
- Transportation and Personal Items
- Local transportation, clothing, personal items, entertainment, etc. must also be taken into account when planning for college expenses.
Don’t Let College Costs Scare You!
These costs may seem overwhelming, but there are ways to keep expenses down. Remember that college educations come at all levels of cost, and that financial aid, scholarships, and grants can help reduce that cost. You may also wish to invest in a college savings plan such as the 529 College Savings Plan offered through the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance (LOSFA). If a school is a great fit for you but seems too expensive, take the steps now to start planning. Don’t give up on a college because of its sticker price.