Learn How to Pick an Affordable College

College Affordability Is Influenced by Location

One of the most effective methods to make education more inexpensive is location.


On average, state schools have lower net prices than private schools. Therefore, tuition at a public school is less expensive than tuition at a private school. Choosing to attend a school in your home state can also lower tuition costs.

Many states have grants and other aid programs only available to students who live in their state. For example, Ohio offers a stipend to nursing students who stay in the state, while North Carolina offers a scholarship to students studying criminal justice in the public school system. Staying in-state can also help you save money on additional expenses such as long-distance travel and lodging and board, especially if you live at home.

However, if you live on campus, keep in mind that schools in cities tend to have greater living costs than institutions in small towns or rural areas.

Be Honest About Your Prestige

It’s difficult not to fall in love with some big-name universities. But, in other ways, are they a good fit for you? Consider the campus atmosphere, average class size, sports and clubs, accessibility to your family, and the tools available to assist you in your future profession. The college’s name is significant, but so is the fact that it is cheap for your family.


“Prestige does not equal valuable life experiences,” writes Harlan Cohen, a New York Times Best Selling Author. “Take a look at the [public] school graduates. Speak with students who attend these schools. You will quickly find that at many schools, you can be exceptional, acquire an exceptional education, and have exceptional prospects.”

According to research released by Psychology Today, prestige isn’t as significant as one may imagine. They cite research that suggests that a person’s experience with a professor or ability to get a good internship is more important than attending a public or private college.

Finally, it comes down to picking a reputable school, a curriculum that will allow you to grow and make professional connections, and a cost structure that you can afford.

Examine Other College Costs

Weighing school prices entails more than just tuition, fees, room, and board; the true cost of living at each college should also be compared.

“Talking to a student from the institution you’re considering and inquiring about additional hidden charges can be beneficial.” Find someone interested in your field. “There could be lab fees, off-campus housing, membership dues, uniforms, or other unexpected expenses,” Cohen notes.

Students interested in participating in academic, political, athletic, or other extracurricular activities, for example, will almost certainly encounter costs, which vary by college. The same is true for Greek life, which can cost anywhere between a few hundred and several thousand dollars each year, depending on the school.

Cover all of your bases. If you intend to maintain a car on campus, there will be parking costs, gas and insurance (and the possibility of tickets), and expenses such as coffee, Uber, and going out with friends. Don’t forget to budget for any excursions back home during the year.

Prepare the groundwork. When feasible, visit each campus and ask a lot of questions. Then, when itemizing all of the fees associated with your school list, keep the big picture in mind.

Additional Suggestions

Discuss the Affordability of Education. Early

As you prepare to select a college, be aware of who contributes and to what extent. Having a list of universities spanning the price spectrum, but being realistic about what you can afford, can help you limit your options when the time comes to choose.

Consider the cost and your ability to repay student loans if necessary, in addition to the academic curriculum. Keep a spreadsheet that includes your net price, financial aid, and costs, as well as the things you appreciate about that college.

Here are a few other methods for determining college affordability:

  • Rates of job placement
  • Graduation rates after four and six years
  • Average student loan debt
  • Each school year, the average financial aid package is awarded.
  • Locate the Best Loans

Student loans can assist in covering any remaining expenditures that are not covered by other forms of financial aid such as scholarships and grants.

According to a College Ave poll performed by Barnes and Noble College InsightsTM, 43 percent of students used federal loans, and 12 percent obtained financing from private lenders.

Federal loans have lower interest rates and more repayment alternatives than private lender loans if student loans are required.

If additional cash is required, apply for a private student loan. Again, look for lenders who provide cheap interest rates and flexible repayment alternatives.