The National Directory of Certified Public Accountants

Ask A CPA - College Planning & Financial Aid

What Is The Estimated Cost Of A College Education?

The total costs will vary substantially from school to school. As a general overview, the net cost to you each year will be the gross costs of tuition, room and board, fees, books, supplies, transportation, extra spending money, minus federal and/or state financial aid, scholarships, grants, awards and loans. Generally, financial aid and loans are paid back 6 months after the student graduates or leaves school. Generally, scholarships, grants and awards are monies given that are not required to be paid back. Generally, the better the student's grades, SAT's and/or ACT's and outside activities are, the higher the scholarships, grants and awards that may be offered. The sticker price of studying and living on campus at the average public university rose 5.4% for in-state students, or about $1,100, to $21,447 this fall, the College Board estimated. The chief cause of that increase was a dramatic spike in tuition and fees at hundreds of public universities. Tuition at the average public university jumped 8.3% to $8,244. Fewer than half of all public university students pay the full sticker price to attend. Federal surveys show at least 52% of all students at public four-year universities receive scholarships or grants. Aid, not counting loans or campus jobs, brought the net tuition paid by the average student at a typical public university to about $2,500, the College Board estimates. That brings the total average net cost of a year on campus (including dorm, books, travel and living expenses) to $11,400

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