Mike Davies
August 2016

Weighing the Cost of College – Video

With the rising cost of undergraduate college education, it is pertinent to a student’s finances to seek out the best cost for college. Prospective college students should take a couple of things into consideration before selecting which college that they would like to attend, such as evaluating the cost of attendance and financial aid award. Making a decision about choosing a college to attend can be made simple after weighing out the best financial outcome for a student’s personal needs.

Cost Effective College: Public Versus Private University

One of the primary deciding factors when selecting a college is the cost of college tuition. Attending a college that is more cost effective may be viewed as a viable option. However, choosing a college solely based on the pricetag is not a smart way to reach a decision. Cheaper colleges, such as state schools, may not have as high of standards as a more prestigious university. Although the tuition costs may be lower, the student may be missing out on an opportunity at a smaller, private school that holds higher standards for education.

Financial Aid

Whether or not a student wants to attend a public or private university, a key factor to help come to a decision is to see how much financial aid is available. Some private universities may offer more financial aid packages to students in need, but the costs are higher than public universities and state colleges. For undergraduates taking out federal student loans, there is a cap on the amount that can be used for the entire time in undergraduate school. As a dependent
undergraduate, the limit of borrowing cannot exceed any more than $31,000 in Stafford Loans.

Before coming to a decision, the student should seriously discuss with his or her parents how much they plan to contribute to their college expenses. After measuring the contributions with the student’s own personal income, the real cost of college will be clearer to the family. Selecting a federal financial aid package that is offered by the school is the safest way to borrow money for school. Avoid taking out private loans at all cost, as these types of loans have much less leeway for being paid back or forgiven.

Community College: The Affordable Gateway into College

As the price of college continues to rise, an increasingly large amount of college students are attending local community colleges in order to save money. Community college offers programs that help make a smooth transition into a four­year university. Students have the chance to pick up an associate’s degree or certification before they transfer. Having the extra “cushion” time between high school and university gives students not only time to save up money, but also time for personal growth. Students have the opportunity to knock out some credits at a lower cost for their lower division coursework.

Coming to a Decision

Determining which college to go to can be emotionally taxing on a prospective college student, but it can be simple. Balancing financial aid packages with personal and family contributions help to get a much clearer idea about the “real cost” of college. To cut down the costs even more, students have the opportunity to attend local community colleges which provide avenues for transferring to four­year universities. After weighing out the financial costs of attending college, the student can deduct which school works best for his or her personal needs.


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Mike Davies

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