Why College May Cost More Than You Expected
It’s an exciting time of year for students – especially for those heading to college in the fall. Congratulations – you are officially done with high school! You made it! Hopefully you got accepted to one of your top choice colleges, with a great financial aid package. Now it’s time to celebrate…right?
Parents, however, may not be celebrating, as the reality now sets in: the bill will be coming due by the end of the summer – and it may be higher than you had expected….
We all know the price of college is high, but as this article explains, approximately 1/3 of colleges provide prospective students and their families with cost estimates that are at least $3,000 lower than what they truly end up costing!
The main reason for this is that many colleges underestimate living expenses – particularly for students living off campus (which constitutes about 50% of all college students).
College Board statistics show that tuition made up only 40% of the total cost of college for the 2014-2015 school year, for students not living at home. They found that while the average student at an in-state public university paid about $9,000 in tuition for the academic year, they also paid over $14,000 for housing, food, books, transportation, and other living expenses.
While the government requires that schools let families know what their estimated total cost of attendance (COA) will be, it’s up to the schools how they come up with this number.
As your COA is a major piece in determining how much financial aid you are eligible to receive, obviously an understated COA can substantially impact your financial aid award!
If you have budgeted a particular amount for college based on the estimated COA the college provided, this shortfall can be disastrous for some families, who may have to withdraw their student from college during or after the first year, upon finding the balance due is much higher than they had planned for.
Having correct and complete information is imperative to making the right choices when it comes to college planning. You also need to make sure you “pad” your college budget if at all possible, to account for any unforeseen expenses. Having a solid plan in place to pay for college – plus a little extra – will help make sure that you’re not surprised when the college bill comes due – or if you are, that it’s a surprise that you are equipped to handle.
We work with families to help them put a plan in place to pay for college in the most efficient manner, without negatively impacting your plans for retirement.
Contact us today for a FREE family evaluation, and find out if we can help your family! There’s no cost or obligation. Just call 614-536-0246 to request your free session with a qualified college planning advisor.