In order to produce the podcast and keep content up free for you, I work with partners so this post may contain affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure for more info.
How much does college tuition cost? Without considering the cost of room and board, here are some average tuition costs.
- Public four-year colleges charge, on average, $7,020 per year in tuition and fees for students who live in their state. The average surcharge for full-time out-of-state students at these institutions is $11,528.
- Private four-year colleges charge, on average, $26,273 per year in tuition and fees.
- Public two-year colleges charge, on average, $2,544 per year in tuition and fees.
Source: College Board
Seeing the numbers, I would encourage college students to dig up and apply to as many scholarships as you can.
If you haven't already, fill out a FAFSA to see if you qualify for any need based grants. Stay in-state to reduce your educational expenses.
With college tuition on the rise,though, it can be harder and harder to pay for school. More and more students are taking out student loans to cover their costs.
Mint has a wonderful infographic depicting various stats on student loans.
I took a snippet of the infographic to highlight the percentage of college students taking out loans and their average amount of debt.
While some student loans may be needed, sometimes there's a financial danger to taking out large amounts.
Watch Out for Student Loan Lifestyle Inflation
You're in college, live like a college student. To me that means being independent and focusing on earning what you buy.
Using student loans to frivolously enhance your college education isn't a smart move. Using student loans for books? Good use of the loan in my opinion.
Using student loans to get a Playstation 3, Xbox 360, and/or a Wii? Bad use of money (and possibly setting yourself up for problems if you are a video game addict).
I say this because I've done some of it with a portion of my loans. I got a top of the line computer (it's for school!) and inflated my lifestyle because it felt good to have money.
The truth was I needed to live within my means and should've taken enough to cover my college expenses.
If you're cutting costs as best you can and you're getting a quality education, I think low interest student loans are an option to consider.
However, I'd ask you to run the numbers and see how much of a burden your student loans will be after you graduate. What is the average income of a graduate in your major?
Another option, if you are currently employed, is to ask your boss about the possibility of receiving employer tuition reimbursement.
An increasing number of businesses are offering this to their employees because it allows them to improve their skills and keeps them with the organization long-term.
Training new employees is expensive, so by making an investment in the future of their workers, businesses are able to hang on to them for much longer.
Online courses have made this option even more viable, since you would not have to take time away from work to earn your degree.
Thoughts on Student Loans for College
Do you think it's possible to a get a quality education without ANY student loans? What amount of student loans makes you uneasy?