College is expensive, and the price continues to increase. In the 2008-2009 school year, the average cost associated with attending a private four-year college was up 5.9% to $25,143, and 6.4% or $6,585 for public four-year schools1. The cost is rising faster than inflation, and there is no indication that this trend will stop.
But college is also an investment—perhaps the greatest investment that you can make. According to 2006 US Census Bureau information, a person graduating with a 4-year college degree can expect to earn about 60% more over the course of their lifetime than a typical high school graduate. So investing in a college education makes good economic sense. The key is to educate yourself, plan carefully and do your homework, so you and your child can choose the best college possible.
College Costs Today
When evaluating the true cost of college, you need to factor in the total cost of attendance. The figures below include tuition, fees and room and board for attending one year of college in 2008-2009. Add to these numbers books and computer equipment, cars and transportation, food, the cost of furnishing a dorm and spending money for social activities and clubs, and you will get a more accurate picture of today's college costs.