Comparing College Costs

Most people believe that school is much more expensive than it really is. Although some are expensive, there is most likely a school near you that is within financial reach.

Adding the financial aid you receive will further reduce your cost of education. When you apply for federal student aid, the college uses your cost of attendance (COA) in determining how much aid you may receive. The COA is the total amount it will cost a student to go to school, usually expressed as a yearly figure.

The COA includes tuition and fees; on-campus room and board (or a housing and food allowance for off-campus students); and allowances for books, supplies, transportation, loan fees, and if applicable, dependent care; costs related to a disability; and miscellaneous expenses.

Think of College an Investment, people with a bachelor's degree can earn more on average than those with only a high school diploma. The earning potential between a high school diploma and a B.A. could be considerably more. Sacrifices that you will make for a college education should pay off in the long run.

Families often make the mistake of calculating only tuition and room and board when figuring out how much it will cost to send a child to school. There are additional expenses that you should estimate so that you have an informed idea of what the total college costs will be.

The charts below ('living at home' and 'living away from home') compares estimated college costs between CUNY, SUNY and an example of a  private college based on attending a four-year school. Fees for CUNY and SUNY will vary based on individual schools. The private college costs will vary based on the college you choose. Information is based on the Fall 2014 term.
Living at Home (NY State Resident)
 

CUNY

SUNY

Private College (NY region)

Tuition and Fees

$5,730 $5,870 $36,000

Fees (average)

$400 $1,350 $800

Housing

$1,918 $3,860 $2,740

Books and Supplies

$1,248 $1,270 $1,100

Meals

$1,148 included
$1,200

Transportation

$1,020 $1,770 $1,150

Personal Expenses

$1,776 $1,520 $1,900
Total Cost of Attendance
$13,240
$15,640
$44,890
The following chart is estimated costs based on students living away from home.
Living Away from Home (NY State Resident)

CUNY

SUNY

Private College (NY region)

Tuition and Fees

$5,730 $5,870 $36,000

Fees (average)

$400 $1,350 $800

Housing

$10,386
$11,770 $14,000

Books and supplies

$1,248 $1,270 $1,045

Meals

$3,168 included
included

Transportation

$1,020 $990 $1,150

Personal Expenses

$4,036 $1,450 $1,900
Total Cost of Attendance

$25,988 $22,700 $54,095

 

The chart below lists the average published tuition

(Source: College Board report "Trends in College Pricing 2013")

 

Private

Four-Year

Public

Four-Year

In-State

Public

Four-Year

Out-of-State

Public

Two-Year

Published 2010-2011 Tuition and Fees

$30,094

 

$8,893

 

$22,203

 

$3,264

 

 

 

You could use the following worksheet to estimate the cost of your education based on the colleges you are planning to attend.

College Costs Worksheet

 

College 1

College 2

College 3


   

Tuition

$                      

$

$

Fees

$

$

$

Books and Supplies

$

$

$

Room and Board

$

$

$

Meals

$

$

$

Transportation/Travel

$

$

$

Personal Expenses

$

$

$

Medical and Dental

$

$

$

Miscellaneous

$

$

$

Other

$

$

$

Total

$

$

$


Students' costs will vary depending on whether the college is public or private, the geographical area of the school and the prevailing cost of goods in the area. A college costs worksheet should be completed for each school that the student is considering attending since the costs can vary significantly.