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The Real Cost of College

When deciding where to attend college, money is a big factor in a final decision. How much is a scholarship worth? Does financial aid really help? How long will I be in debt after four years? On top of those pressing questions, parents are nagging about jobs and how college will be paid for if they’re not paying for it. Your parents paid for their college tuition, so now they’re making you pay for yours. The price to attend college has skyrocketed throughout the time that our parents have been out of college. No matter what college you look at, the prices have increased a notable amount.

To put things in perspective, The Ohio State University’s in-state tuition in the 1990-91 school year was $2,343 and out-of-state was $6,942. Now, in 2016, you never would’ve guessed tuition for OSU was once that low. For incoming 2015-16 college freshmen, the cost of in-state tuition is $10,037, a 328% increase from the 90s. The cost of out-of-state tuition is well above that, totaling nearly $28,000, a 303% increase. These price are just tuition and fees. The total attendance cost for an in-state student would be $25,631. The total attendance cost for an out-of-state student would total around $43,000. Room and board accounts for a large portion of the cost— almost $12,000.

Harvard University has also showed a significant raise in tuition and annual costs. In 1990, the attendance cost for both in and out-of-state students was the same. Students during the 1990 school year paid $13,545 to attend the prestigious college. Now, for the 2016-17 school year, the attendance cost for Massachusetts residents and non-residents still remains the same, but the price has risen greatly to $59,607, a 340% increase from 1990. Tuition accounts for $40,418 of the cost and room and board accounts for almost $15,000. Books are totaled at $1,000, but not everyone will spend exactly that much on books.

All the prices given do not account for extra things students will buy to keep in their dorm rooms or gas money if they have a car on campus. Depending on the cost of books and where you get them from (rent, used, the school’s bookstore, etc.), the costs vary, but are still high. Extra activities outside of classes or campus will also cost extra, as well as food and snacks. Scholarships and financial aid are available at most schools, but will likely not cover the whole cost. About 60% (12 million) of students take out loans to assist them with paying for college.

Though the costs are high, The U.S. has some of the best colleges in the world. As of 2016, eight of out the global top ten colleges are located here, #1 being Harvard University followed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology at #2.

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