Graduation Hat and Money

What College Really Costs

Have you ever wondered what college really costs? Getting a college education is much more costly than when our grandparents were going to school! Fees including books, housing, tuition and the little things in between (that always come up) can really add up. The CGS Team has gathered a few interesting insights that those considering college should know.

The rundown of college expenses can easily add up, so why not plan ahead! Understand what you may be in store for and prepare accordingly. Sometimes student loans cannot be helped, but knowing where you stand can make all the difference! Whether you are just starting school, going back after a few years, or considering your options, the CGS Team has some great information to help you move forward with your college planning!

Here’s what college really costs…

Out of State Fees

Out of state expenses are one of the largest expenses associated with going to college. A change of scenery may be the reason why some folks go to school out of state. However, that change in scenery could (and usually will) mean an increase in tuition expenses out of your pocket. Out of state fees and expenses can almost double your tuition! When applying to schools, check and see what benefits they offer to students that are coming from a different state.

A good resource is, which shows out of state tuition. The University of Texas System out of state fees are roughly $6,000 a semester/ quarter; compared to if you wanted to stay in state it’s about $3,200. Students can save hundreds and thousands of dollars by establishing residency or participating in a regional exchange program. This means you avoid spending the extra cost to go to school out of state, and pay the regular tuition fees as if you lived in the state.


Sharing a living space can be a challenge and contribute to a whole new experience in life. Although dorms may not sound that exciting to you, schools and universities usually require lower rent than if you lived off campus. Typically, the rent you pay covers all of your utilities as well. California State University of Northridge charged students $678 a month to live on campus, but that rate included rent, power, water, and gas.

The first year of college, students should live on campus due to the convenience of their school needs. Most of everything a student needs is in the vicinity of their living quarters and will not require them to have a car or other transportation. Most colleges offer different styles of housing, ranging from apartment style, to two people sharing a dorm room.

Some college dorm rooms offer meal cards that can cut the cost buying groceries. If an apartment sounds like a better fit, make sure you do your research! Apartments near campus may offer lower rates. Also, consider living with a roommate to help cover living expenses.

Tuition & Fees

Every year it seems like colleges are getting more and more expensive. Fees differentiate depending on the school you’re interested in attending. Some college fees include parking, libraries, work out facilities and campus health centers. Although it may seem like a pain to pay for those items, doing so allows students the ability to take advantage of them. According to www.scholarshipsandfeescom, if those fees seem unnecessary, check to see if you qualify for certain fee waivers.

Simply talk to someone in the financial aid department of the school you are interested in to learn more about the costs associated with that school. Who knows, you may qualify for certain fee waivers and be able to save some extra bucks! It never hurts to ask. Education is a necessity in life these days, and money shouldn’t decide if a person can achieve higher education or not. It’s also important to not choose a college because the price of tuition. The cost of a college does not determine if a school is good or bad.


One expense that you can’t live without in college is the costs of textbooks. A textbook is usually required for every class, and some classes may require 2 or 3 books! Books are usually found at your campus bookstore, but you may be forced to pay full price. Most college bookstores will buy the book back at the end of the semester.

But beware, if your edition is expiring then your bookstore may not take your book back. Consider purchasing books from used textbook stores or even renting from online bookstores. is a great resource for renting books online and you could even save up to 90% of the original price of the book!

Related: 5 Things College Grads Need to Know About Finance.


Receiving a college education can get very costly without free money like scholarships and grants. It’s never too late to start planning ahead. An investment in your education is an investment well spent. If you can’t afford tuition out of pocket, consider school loans. Rates are lower than regular loans and the repayment terms are very flexible. Please share any tips you’ve gathered along your college journey that helped you get through financially. Saving money is always better than spending, so comment below and let’s talk!

-The CGS Team



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