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How Much Does 4 Years Of College Cost

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By Lara Takenaga

Morehouse Colleges 2019 graduates dont have to worry about crushing student debt, since the billionaire investor Robert F. Smith pledged last week to pay it all off. Neither do graduates of colleges in countries that offer affordable tuition and generous stipends.

As young adults wrestle with student debt in the United States, where it has reached $1.5 trillion, many recent graduates in some countries are debt free.

When we asked people around the world what they paid for their higher education and how they financed it, we received nearly 800 responses from more than 40 countries.

Below is a selection of the responses, which show how government policies can shape the personal and professional choices that young adults make as they begin their careers. The responses have been edited and condensed.

If youattended college, how did you pay for it? Please tell us in the comments section.

How Financial Aid Impacts College Cost

An important factor to consider is the potential for financial aid. No matter the circumstances, students should apply for financial aid, which can possibly help them with their college costs.

Understanding the difference between the sticker price and the net priceIn simple terms, net price is what you pay after financial aid is factored in, while the sticker price is the cost before any financial aid comes into the picture. The United States Department of Education Scorecard gives detailed information on the net price of specific schools, allowing prospective students to make more informed decisions.


The FAFSA is a form that college students should always complete to see if theyre eligible for school, state and federal financial aid to cover all or a portion of their college expenses.


A grant is a state or federal program offered to provide college funding for students. For example, Say Yes Buffalo is a grant program that covers tuition for students who attend Buffalo public schools. Grants are considered free money and typically does not have to be repaid.


A scholarship is a monetary award given to a student to help pay for college. Scholarship is free money and does not need to be repaid

For example, that any student can apply for.

Estimated Average Costs For California Residents 202122

This chart estimates the cost of attending UC for one year as a California resident undergraduate. For a significant proportion of our students, these expenses are offset by grants and scholarships.

Keep in mind that your total cost will vary depending on your personal expenses and the campus you attend.




* UC undergraduates at all campuses pay the same $12,570 in systemwide tuition and fees. Nonresident undergraduates pay an additional $29,754 in nonresident supplemental tuition. The fees figure above includes the average cost of additional campus-based fees. Your total costs will vary depending on your personal expenses and the campus you attend. All fees are subject to change without notice.

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How Much Is A Fee For Summer School

There are short thematic programmes, which include not only training, but also cultural and entertainment programme in the most universities. Most often, it is a Summer School, but universities also host spring, autumn and winter courses. As a rule, such programmes last from three to eight weeks and provided with a certificate of participation.

Tuition fee in a Summer School on average is about 45 thousand rubles*. Sometimes universities offer students to pay only travel, or travel and accommodation, and the educational programme itself is free of charge.

There is a convenient search tool on our website, which will help you to choose a suitable basic educational programme or an additional course . You can find a tuition fee in the description of each programme. After you have selected the programme, register your personal account, fill out the questionnaire, select the training direction and send the application free of charge, directly to the university. You should indicate the name of the programme that interests you in the comment section. You will receive the answer within ten days.

How Much Will College Cost My Family

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To estimate what your future tuition might be, try the World’s Simplest College Cost Calculator. You’ll be able to input the actual school you’re saving for and the age of your child. From there, the World’s Simplest College Cost Calculator calculates the prospective costs of college, including room and board, books supplies and other expenses. It also estimates how much you’ll actually have to pay out of pocket after taking grants and scholarships into consideration. Once you calculate your savings need, the Planner will help you find a 529 plan to meet your goal.

Helping families save for college since 1999

Key Resources

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Big Dividends Down The Road

A Harvard education is, by nearly any measure, an amazing investment even when you factor out the financial aid you may receive. For many employersincluding some Wall Street banks and prominent consulting firmshaving the school on a resume offers an enormous leg up on the competition. According to a 2018 survey by the school newspaper, more than half of those graduating expected to earn $70,000 or more in their first year on the job. That’s well above the average college graduate who earned $51,000 in 2017.

Here’s another important fact. Attending Harvard leads graduates to valuable connections as their careers unfold, allowing them to sustain their success. PayScale’s College Salary Report suggested Harvard graduates are among the top earners nationally when it comes to salary at the midpoint of their careers. Graduates who only have an undergraduate degree have median earnings of$147,700at themid-career mark, with Harvard ranking sixth in the country in that category. The median income increases to $159,400 by mid-career for those with a graduate degree. Keep in mind that earnings fluctuate based on a graduate’s job and type of degree.

How Much Do In

On average, in-state students at public four-year institutions paid just $3,870 in tuition and fees during the 2019-20 academic year, compared with $14,380 at four-year, private nonprofit universities. This cost, known as average net price, reflects the actual cost of tuition after scholarships, grants, and tax benefits have been taken into consideration.

Financial aid can reduce out-of-pocket costs to attend most universities. A full-time student at a public four-year institution received an average of $6,570 in grant aid and tax benefits during the 2019-20 school year. Grant aid includes federal programs like Pell Grants and veterans benefits, as well as state and institutional grants and scholarships.

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What Is The Cost Of Room And Board

The cost of room and board depends on the campus housing and food plans you choose. Living at home with parents will reduce your costs. For the 2020-2021 academic year, average room and board costs are

  • $13,120 at private colleges
  • $11,620 at public colleges

Some colleges provide room and board estimates for living off-campus. At public colleges, room and board costs are usually the same for in-state and out-of-state residents.

Source: College Board, Trends in College Pricing and Student Aid, 2020.

How Much Does University Cost

The Cost of College in 4 Minutes

Though you may use your RESPs funds for many post-secondary paths, university education is typically the most expensive route. Based on data from Statistics Canada, the average cost of a four-year university degree starting in 2022 is $96,004 for students in residence, or $48,074 for students living at home . Of course, some schools and cities are more expensive than others, as are certain areas of study but this should give you a general sense of what to expect.

And as you can see below, costs are expected to rise every year for the foreseeable future:

How much will university cost my child?

How much can I save?

While situations can change over time, this handy tool will give you a picture of how much and how often you need to save to meet your savings goal.

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Average College Tuition Costs Over The Years

Upon closer inspection of the average cost of college one may note a consistent surge: college tuition and fees are continuing to increase to a point that one may freely describe them as skyrocketing.

If we were to compare the prices from 1989 and those from 2016 we will notice that it increased almost 8 times faster than the wages in 1989 the four-year degree cost on average $52, 892 compared to 2016 when the same degree surpassed $104,480.

This movement of the rise in college tuition seems to be constant throughout the years and that does not exclude this year. Juxtaposing 1989 statistics with the recent 2020 statistics confirms that the average college tuition for any college education is skyrocketing:

  • In 1989, the public 2-year cost of tuition and fees was $1,730, while in 2019-2020 that same cost $3,730
  • In 1989, the public 4-year average cost of tuition and fees was $1,730, while in 2019-2020 that same cost $10,440.
  • In 1989, the private nonprofit 4-year cost of tuition and fees was $17,860, while in 2019-2020 that same cost $36,880.

Student Loans To Cover College Costs

Student loans can be used to take care of not only required classroom materials like textbooks, but living expenses like rent, utilities, and groceries. Thats because if your basic needs are taken care of, youve got more time to concentrate on your studies and graduate on time.

Current federal student loan limits which range from $5,500 a year for freshmen who are dependent on their parents to $12,500 for upper-level students who are independent have been in place since 2008.

As a result, once students hit their limits on the most affordable federal loans, many are turning to federal PLUS and private student loans to cover increasingly large funding gaps.

As the table above shows, its not unusual for first-year students at public schools to be looking for close to $10,000 in additional funding a year, while students starting out at private colleges may have $20,000 or more in unmet expenses.

Learn More: How to Pay For College Textbooks

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Harvard’s Demographics And Diversity Issues

According to the school’s website, Harvard is committed to diversity. Home to students from more than 100 different countries, Harvard states that it aims to register diverse individuals with different backgrounds, beliefs, and financial situations. The ethnicities of the admitted class of 2025 were broken up as follows:

But the school has come under fire for what some allege is a discriminatory admissions process. A student advocacy group called Students for Fair Admissions filed a lawsuit against the school in 2014, alleging that Harvard’s admissions process was race-based and discriminated against Asian Americans. Both the lower court and the federal appeals court that presided over the case found that the school’s practices were not discriminatory.

Drew Gilpin Faust, who was president of Harvard in 2016, created a task force to address diversity issues at the school, including gender, race, ethnicity, and sexuality. The report made a series of recommendations such as the hiring of diverse staff, improved mentoring, and departmental plans to advance inclusion.

Just How Much Does College Cost

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Well, that depends on what type of school you want to attend. An Ivy League school will likely be your most expensive option, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get an excellent education at a more affordable college.

Let’s take a look at the differences between costs of public and private colleges today and 18 years from now:

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How Much Does Four Years Of College Cost

Over the years, college has evolved from a choice made by some to an expectation for nearly everyone. At high school graduations, schools will even read off information about the colleges that students are planning to attend. Going to college has become the societal norm, to the point where it is almost strange, unwise, and often even unacceptable to decide against higher education.

There is an obvious reason for this trend. Many people believe that opting out of going to college will make it more difficult for a person to find employment, advance their career, and make money throughout their lifetime. A college degree, in comparison, opens up the job market, unlocks paths to advancement, and leads to higher salaries.

None of these beliefs are expressly incorrect. Many employers will make a four-year degree a prerequisite for most positions. These positions require specific skills and education that are usually not covered in high school. Employers are willing to pay extra for those skills, meaning that salaries areon averagehigher for college-educated professionals than they are for people who merely hold high school diplomas.

How Much Does College Really Cost

When it comes to paying for college, theres a lot more to consider than just the tuition bill. College students should also think about how much everything from an apartment to flying back home for break to late-night munchies will cost them. And while these costs add up, theres no need to panic: Weve got ways you can save big.

To help you figure out how much college will cost you each year, weve made a list of the major expenses and the price tag for each. The quick gist of it is this: The bulk of your college expenses come from your tuition, fees, room and board, which altogether typically cost anywhere from about $17,000 to $29,600 to $38,500 per year , according to a study by the College Board. Add in personal expenses, books, supplies and transportation, and the total annual tab balloons to about $21,500 for an in-state public university to $34,000 for an out-of-state student at a public school to over $42,000 for a private college.*

Of course, its a little more complicated than that. So, heres a detailed look at what youll pay for college each yearand how you can save on each expense.

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How Much Are Tuition And Fees At My State School

State school costs can vary dramatically, depending on where you attend and if youre an in-state or out-of-state student. It can cost as little as $6,350 as an in-state student in Florida and as much as $41,640 as an out-of-state student in Vermont. Heres how much it costs across different states.

  • Average in-state and out-of-state tuition
    In-state rank
    $5,580 $18,150

This data was released in November 2019 and does not reflect refunds and reimbursements offered by some colleges due to COVID-19.

Average Cost Of Room & Board


The determining factor in the cost of room and board is whether the student lives on or off campus.

  • At 4-year institutions, the cost of room and board ranges from $10,216 to $11,945.
  • At public 4-year institutions, students living on campus pay an average of $11,451 annually for room and board off-campus boarders pay $10,781.
  • At private, nonprofit institutions, on-campus boarders pay an average of $12,682 per academic year students living off campus pay $9,762.
  • At private, for-profit institutions, on-campus room and board averages $10,654 students living off campus pay an average of $8,027.
  • There is wider variation in room and board costs at 2-year institutions.
  • At public 2-year institutions, students living on campus pay an average of $7,165 for their annual room and board students living off campus pay $9,316.
  • At private, nonprofit 2-year colleges, on-campus boarders pay $11,723 annually off-campus boarders pay $9,429.
  • Private, for-profit institutions charge $10,369 on average for room and board students living off campus pay $9,222.
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    Average Cost Of College & Tuition

    Report Highlights. The average cost of college* in the United States is $35,720 per student per year. The cost has tripled in 20 years, with an annual growth rate of 6.8%.

    • The average in-state student attending a public 4-year institution spends $25,615 for one academic year.
    • The average cost of in-state tuition alone is $9,580 out-of-state tuition averages $27,437.
    • The average traditional private university student spends a total of $53,949 per academic year, $37,200 of it on tuition and fees.
    • Considering student loan interest and loss of income, the ultimate cost of a bachelors degree may exceed $400,000.

    *In this report, college refers to any postsecondary educational institution that offers an undergraduate degree program.


    *Additional expenses do not account for potential lost income nor student loan interest.

    Related reports include Student Loan Debt Statistics | Average Cost of Community College | How Do People Pay for College? | Student Loan Refinancing

    Pros And Cons Of College Housing Options

    Once you choose a college, youll also need to find somewhere to live . Your housing choice can be an extension of college life or simply a place to sleep. Here are a few options to consider:


    Living in a residence hall is a popular choice for first-year students. This all-inclusive option lets you meet new people outside the classroom and, along with available meal plans, is probably the best all-in-one choice. Pre-arranged study groups and activities in campus housing mean youll never be bored, and because residence halls are conveniently located, you dont need a car.

    Residence hall living also means you can be more immersed in college life. This makes a dorm a great choice since most freshmen dont know anyone when they first arrive. On the downside, expect noise, a small and sparsely furnished living space, and minimal privacy. Youll probably be assigned a roommate, who may turn out to be your best friend . So while there are advantages and disadvantages to dorm living, its probably your best option to get a true taste of college life as a freshman.



    Living in an apartment means you get to choose your roommate and make your own rules. By having a true space to call home, its easier to separate yourself from school, and, depending on the choices you make, this can be a fairly inexpensive living arrangement. Apartments offer more privacy and probably impose fewer restrictions on your activities than dorms.


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