Underlying Costs Drive Up College Expenses


At face value, students can expect to pay a certain amount of money each year while attending college. Tuition, room, newspaperbooks and related expenses are costs which are readily known, but there are some hidden costs which can add tens of thousands of dollars to your bill.

What are the hidden costs for attending college?

Quite simply: not getting your degree within the allotted amount of time. According to the College Board which tracks these things, the average completion date for a public university student is 6.2 years and 5.3 years for private university collegians. This means that the extra time that students spend in school drives up college costs accordingly.

Why Is It Taking Longer For Students To Graduate?

There are a number of reasons why it is taking longer for students to graduate with a bachelor’s degree including:

Transferring Schools — When students transfer from one college to another, not all credits are accepted. One, two or more semesters of work could be lost, pushing back the students completion time by a year or more.

Changing Majors — Many schools allow students to wait until their Sophomore or even Junior year before declaring a major. College officials understand that any change of major usually results in new graduation requirements which, of course, means additional classes they’ll have to take before graduating. By declaring later, students will (hopefully) know what direction they want to take.

Working While In School — Although some students do not have to work, many students do and must. Juggling a demanding job with school usually means that the student will take a less demanding class load each semester, adding one or two years to the time when they are able to complete their degree.

Lack of Motivation or Direction — Students who are indecisive or perhaps fearful of what lies ahead of them (post graduation) are likely to delay finishing school on time. College life can be tremendously comfortable for the person who fears entry into the competitive world of work.

How Much Extra Does Delaying A Degree Cost?

Without adding in yearly tuition/college expense increases, figure that a year or two extra spent at school can easily add 25 to 50 percent to the cost of college. A family spending $100,000 for four years of education could easily see that amount driven up to $150,000 or more. For many students, those funds don’t come freely and can become expenses which will have to be shouldered for many years afterward through student loan repayments.

Where Can I Get Help To Finish School On Time?

Most colleges want to see their students finish school on time and with a bachelor’s degree. Sure, you’re adding more money into their coffers, but college administrators know that you’re much more likely to finish up at their school if you have a plan. To that end, consider the following:

  • Meet with a college guidance counselor as soon as possible to map out your studies over the next few years. You could be taking courses which do not lead to a degree or you may need some guidance in selecting the right major.
  • Consider taking college level classes while in high school. Many states encourage students to get a head start with college while yet in high school. Your junior year of high school is normally the toughest, but once that year is out of the way, you can devote part of your senior schedule to taking college level courses. Many colleges will accept these credits.

Even if you must work while in school, your college can help you map out a way to handle your class load while working. In some cases, your work can add up to college credit allowing you to earn money while receiving credit for work experience.

If you’re looking for income ideas or aid charts, please visit SayStudent for more information.


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Categories: College Budgeting