If you think about it, college tuition isn't just another expense - it's an investment in a person's future. Whether you're seeking to fund your own education or are thinking about ways to provide for a child's tuition, it's good to consider the doors and opportunities an education can open. It can be an unequaled advantage when entering the professional world.
That said, college isn't cheap ... and the cost is always rising. And not just for tuition. Books (even used ones) can be a sizable expense, and campus housing costs are rising along with the rent and mortgages for the rest of the world. Of course, the social side of college is undeniable; it's a wonderful time to meet and learn from new and different people. Social and entertainment activities cost money, too. Taking all these expenses into account, consider these average college costs for the 2014-15 academic year (from The College Board, Trends in College Pricing 2014):
2014-15 College Costs
In the 2014-15 academic year, average annual tuition charges for college were as follows:
- Public two-year colleges(in-district): $ 3,347
- Public four-year colleges and universities(in-state): $ 9,139
- Public four-year colleges and universities(out-of-state): $22,958
- Private four-year colleges and universities(non-profit): $31,231
- Private four-year colleges and universities(for-profit): $15,230
When room and board, books and supplies, transportation, and other expenses were added, the total annual student costs were as follows:
- Public two-year colleges(in-district/commuter): $16,325
- Public four-year colleges and universities(in-state/on-campus): $23,410
- Public four-year colleges and universities(out-of-state/on-campus): $37,229
- Private nonprofit four-year colleges and universities(on-campus): $46,272
Fortunately, you can take steps at any time to lessen the impact of college expenses on your budget. If you’re years away from sending your children to a university, setting aside money for that day is one of the best gifts you can give them. Graduating free of loans can help allow them to pursue their dreams unhindered. If you're only able to pay for a portion of their education, you can still take advantage of prepaid state tuition plans, which help lock in expenses and reduce the burden when the time comes.
For all the other situations in between, a combination of state assistance, scholarship funds, and other sources can make the possibility of a college education more real than you may have thought. Never assume a college education is out of reach without exploring the possibilities with an academic advisor who can explain your options.
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Mutual funds are a popular long-term way to fund an education. Learn how you can get started.
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Learn more about programs that can help you lock in the price of a state education.
Western & Southern Life does not provide tax or legal advice. Please contact your tax or legal advisor regarding your situation.
*Products suggested for this Life Stage are not a specific recommendation or solicitation to purchase. Mutual funds are offered through an affiliate of Western & Southern Life.