Avoiding Sticker Shock
Picking the right school can play a huge part in how much you pay back after you graduate. Even though you may have your heart set on a certain school, in the long run, that school might not make good financial sense. Here are some options to consider:
Attend a 2-Year School First
Generally, tuition at a 2-year school is cheaper than a 4-year institution. That is why starting out at a 2-year school then transferring to a 4-year school can save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in student loans.
Also, if you get a 2-year degree and go straight into the work force, many employers may foot the bill for you to get a more advanced degree. Having them pay for your schooling will mean much less out of your pocket.
Consider Public and Private Schools
What's the difference between a public (state) and/or private school?
- Public—a school that is funded by local or state government
- Private—a school that is funded directly from tuition, private donors, investments, etc. and not from the government
This is important information to know because it plays a large part in the cost of attendance. See for yourself:
|2015 Average Total Cost of Attendance for 4-Year Schools|
Source: CNN Money
Tuition at a public school is traditionally less than tuition at a private school. However, a private school may be able to offer more in financial aid, thanks to private donors. Don't make any decisions until you receive your complete financial aid package, as this will give you the final price point for comparison at each school to which you've been accepted.
Compare In-State vs. Out-of-State
Ready to hit the road and go to a school far, far away? For some, that is exactly what they want to do, but it could cost you more to attend an out-of-state school. Did you know?
- Generally, the cost of attendance at public schools is higher for out-of-state students.
- If you attend a school out-of-state, you could miss out on additional aid, such as grants that you may qualify for if you attend a school in the state where you live.
Is moving away worth paying for it later?
So, how do I avoid sticker shock?
- Consider all the options above.
- Shop around to find a school that fits your financial situation.
- After you apply, compare your aid packages to see what school is giving you the best deal.