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How to Calculate Your Costs for Tuition

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College is a part of the American dream, becoming more and more unattainable in recent years.  The expensive and seemingly random charges and the fact that numbers are different at every school could confuse anyone when trying to budget out their education.  Instead of guessing through it and hoping you apply for a loan of the right size- here are some of the top questions you should ask yourself when filling out an EFC calculator.

Where Are You Coming From?

It’s no secret that the cost of in-state tuition is always lower than the price for those coming from another state or country.  This cost mostly encourages locals within the state to stay and get an education closer to home, making it seem discounted and more affordable.  Studies looking into schools like The University of Texas at Austin’s School of Undergraduate Studies gets away with charging nearly four times as much per credit for an out of state education, unlike the $5,000 an in-state student would have to pay.

Where Are You Staying?

These questions may not come to mind immediately, but if you’re staying on campus, you’ll have to pay more for room and board.  Although off-campus, you may have to pay for an apartment; on-campus, a dorm would come directly out of your tuition.  This difference can be helpful if you have scholarships or large loans to factor it into.  

You might want to enroll at a college as far away from home as possible, especially if you are keen on asserting your independence. On the other hand, you might prefer to be nearer your family, so a college nearby might suit you better. Click To Tweet

What School Did You Choose?

Some schools are just more expensive at every step.  State colleges out charge local colleges, but ivy league schools are even more costly.  You shouldn’t pick a school based on price alone, but it’s also good to be realistic.  Look at the cost of credits at your dream schools, and decide if those are feasible for you.

Graduate or Undergraduate?

Even if these are at the same school in the same state, if you’re taking a course as an undergraduate, it’s always going to cost less than as a graduate.  The fees that go up are based on what the degrees can do for you.  You can’t change whether you’re a graduate or undergrad based on price, but it’s an important thing to remember before buying for yourself.

Credits Per Term?

How many credits do you need to take to graduate?  What’s a reasonable number of credits to take in one semester?  Piece out your credit costs to try and find how much your active learning hours will cost you.  This price will vary based on school, specialty, and teacher, so it’s best to research as deeply as you can.  


We can’t plan for the unexpected, but luckily with schools, we know most of what’s expected.  Please pay attention to how much it costs for books on average, check supplies needed, and pay attention to what most people in your degree path say.  A degree in illustration or architecture could cost you hundreds or thousands in educational supplies, but a math major could have to deal with book costs.  Pay attention to what others have been charged.

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