Basic Facts About College Prices and Student Aid (page 3)
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- For the 2002-03 academic year, average tuition charges for full-time undergraduates, before student aid was deducted, were:
Public Community College (two-year, AA-granting) $1,735 Public University (four-year, BA-granting)* $4,081 Private College or University (four-year, BA-granting) $18,273
- Almost 70 percent of full-time undergraduates who attend four-year colleges face tuition charges, before student aid, of less than $8,000. About 38 percent attend institutions that charge less than $4,000, before student aid. Only 7 percent attend institutions with tuition (before aid) of $24,000 or more.
Total Annual Student Budget
- Both price and student aid differ substantially based on the type of institution one attends. In 1999-2000, the most recent year for which data are available, the average annual student budgets for full-time students, before any aid was deducted, and after deducting grants and all aid, for various types of institutions, were:
Before Aid Less Grants Less All Aid Public Community College (two-year, AA-granting) $9,109 $7,810 $7,095 Public University (four-year, BA-granting)* $12,624 $10,595 $8,167 Private College or University (four-year, BA-granting) $23,700 $17,386 $13,059 * This figure is for in-state students. Tuition charges for out-of-state residents typically are higher.
- Students who choose to live on campus pay room and board fees, in addition to tuition, that range from $5,300 to $6,700, on average. At four-year colleges, about 25 percent of undergraduates live on campus. The expenses of students who live on their own off campus, or with their parents, will differ depending on their living situation, personal circumstances, and the local cost of living. Annual costs for books and supplies range from $727 to $807, on average. There also may be special fees for laboratory or computer use, for example. Colleges include all of these expenses (tuition, room and board, transportation, books, fees, etc.) in a student budget, which campus student aid officers use when making student aid award determinations.
- After student aid is deducted, the total annual budget for two-thirds of full-time students is under $10,000. For about one-third of undergraduates, the annual budget is less than $5,000.
- Seven out of ten full-time students receive some form of financial aid.
- Most student aid is awarded on the basis of financial need. Need is defined as the difference between the total cost of attending a particular college and the amount a family is expected to contribute to paying that cost. This 'expected family contribution' can differ from institution to institution, but generally is based on a federal formula that takes into account parental and student income and assets.
- Because most aid is need-based, the price of college, less aid, declines with income. For example, families with an adjusted gross income of $70,000 or more paid an average of $3,728 in tuition, less grants, at public universities in 1999-00, and those with an adjusted gross income of under $2,632. Following the same pattern, at private institutions, families with an adjusted gross income of $70,000 or more paid an average of $12,224 in tuition, less grants, in 1999-00, and those with an adjusted gross income of under $15,000 paid $5,237.
- However, a substantial amount of aid is available that is not based on need. All students, regardless of income, benefit from the low interest rates on federal student loans (although only those with need are exempted from interest charges while they are in school), and many institutions, especially those in the private sector, offer grants to students based on academic and other non-financial criteria. Several federal tuition tax benefits are available to families with incomes below $100,000, and a growing number of states are offering scholarships to all students who meet certain academic criteria. Many national and community-based organizations also offer scholarships that are based on criteria other than financial need.
- Grants and loans are the most common types of student aid. Nearly 60 percent of all full-time undergraduates received grant aid in 1999-00 and the average amount they received was just under $5,000; about 45 percent took out a student loan in that year and the average amount borrowed was $5,437.
- Student aid comes from many sources, but the majority of funds come from the federal government. Federal student aid accounts for 69 percent of all funds awarded to students, states supply 5.6 percent, and colleges and universities and private sources contribute 19 percent.
- Regardless of their parents' income, students are expected to make a contribution to the cost of their education. Many students make this contribution with earnings from jobs they hold during the academic year. More than 80 percent of undergraduates work during the academic year.
- A large percent of all bachelor degree recipients graduate with student loan debt. Among these students, the average amount borrowed is about $15,375 for those who graduate from public institutions and about $17,250 for those who graduate from private colleges and universities. The average monthly payment to pay off these amounts in 10 years is $180 and $200, respectively.
- Another factor that has a substantial influence on price is whether one attends full or part time. Because part-time students face lower costs, they are less likely to receive aid. In 1999-00, 35 percent of part-time students received grants, and the average amount these students received was $1,952.
- States and institutions supply a great deal of 'indirect' aid to students by raising and supplying funds that allow students to pay far less than the actual cost of their education. Experts estimate that, after this indirect and direct student aid are taken into account, students pay about one-third of actual educational costs.
Reprinted with the permission of the American Council on Education. © 2008 American Council on Education.
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