How Important Is the Cost of College?
The cost of college has gradually increased over the years, and students are taking notice.
In fact, a recent study shows that more people than ever are considering college costs before choosing a school. While the cost of tuition should not be the only detail you consider, it is wise to pay some attention to it before applying.
How Much Should You Think About Cost?
You first need to consider how you plan to pay for college. If you have plenty of money in savings, or if your parents are willing to cover the majority of your college costs, you probably have to worry less about money while applying.
Of course, if you are on the opposite end of the spectrum and have no savings, you need to be more mindful of tuition before you apply. You may plan to work during college to pay for at least some of the cost, but you cannot expect to work overtime just to pay for classes that you will no longer have time for. In this situation, applying to some inexpensive colleges may reduce your burden as you attend school.
Look at Financial Aid Packages
It may seem like there are some colleges you could never afford, but you might be surprised how much financial aid can help. You could end up paying very little of the tuition you see when you first apply, so you should never let the listed college cost scare you off.
Many schools offer financial aid based on need, so if your family is not well off, you may have an advantage. Grants and work-study programs are some of the types of financial aid you may be offered if your household income qualifies.
You can also apply for scholarships, which are usually based on merit, in which case household income may not matter. If all else fails, there are student loans available to nearly everyone to help with the cost of college.
Don’t Overload Yourself with College Debt
Though you may find loans are the only way you can deal with your college costs, be careful not to take on too much debt. Remember that you have to pay it back!
It is not uncommon for graduates to take 20 or 30 years to pay off student loans. In addition, many students now take five years to graduate, increasing overall college cost. Try to estimate your monthly payment of your student loans before you take on too much debt. Don’t forget to add interest!
Your student loan payment could end up being hundreds or even thousands of dollars per month, depending on the cost of the college you choose. When you are taking out loans, the difference between $20,000 and $30,000 for annual tuition is huge, which is why it is so important to carefully consider cost before applying to college.
Finally, before you make a decision, take a look at the average income for someone with your dream job. If it is rather low, it may not make sense to choose the most expensive college and then take out loans. If you want to end up grateful for your education, not feeling burdened by it for life, college cost should be one of many details to consider when applying to schools.