Costs associated with college

This was originally published on Monday, April  , 2019, in the Pacific Daily News.  Click here to subscribe to the PDN.

Paying for college is expensive and many families are feeling the pinch as tuition costs soar. Converting dollars into knowledge isn’t cheap these days and it gets more expensive every year.

College tuition prices are a lot higher today compared with two decades ago. According to U.S. News data, the average cost for tuition and fees among national universities has risen significantly since the late 1990s.

Increases aren’t limited to universities; costs at other four-year institutions and community colleges have also risen.

SAT/ACT: Taking the SAT and the ACT tests cost money. For both tests, you can send your scores to four colleges for free. However, if you are applying to more than four schools, you will need to cover the cost to send the additional scores.

A waitlist fee can also be assessed if you register after the late registration deadline and are seated on the test day. If you change the test date or the location of the test, that too will cost.

Both tests have an optional service that sends you the test questions and the correct answers for a fee. There’s another fee if you need to expedite sending your scores.

Transcripts: You will need to send your high school transcripts to the schools to which you are applying. If you are going directly from high school into college, speak with your guidance counselor to understand the cost and process for doing this.

If you graduated from high school a while ago, you will have to contact your high school. Be aware that there may be a cost for each transcript request. Some colleges may require the transcripts go through a third party that will add extra costs.

Books and supplies: College students pay an average of $607 per year on books and course materials. Some new textbooks can cost more than $100. The cost of the class varies with each term.

To cut costs, utilize gently used books, electronic texts or rent your textbook. You can also sell your books when you are done with your class to recoup the cost of next semester’s book costs.

Application: For each school to which you apply, you’ll likely be responsible for an application fee and maybe a processing fee. According to a study by U.S. News and World Report, the average application fee is about $42.

Room and board: Once you are accepted to the school you wish to attend, you will need to start thinking about where to live. Some universities require out-of-state students to live on campus their first, and sometimes second, year. If you will be living in the dormitories you will likely need to make a deposit to hold your place in student housing.

Some room-and-board costs include a meal plan. Many colleges offer different meal plans to fit your budget. If you are living off campus, you can save money by not opting into the meal plan.

Michael Camacho is president and chief executive officer of Personal Finance Center. He has more than 25 years of experience in retail banking and at financial institutions in Guam and Hawaii. If there is a topic you’d like Michael to cover, please email him at moneymattersguam@yahoo.com and read past columns at the Money Matters blog atwww.moneymattersguam.wordpress.com.

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