College is often the first financial decision many young adults make.
Unfortunately, for many, it is often the most expensive decision after factoring in repayment terms and cost of interest.
While many may have a first choice of school they’d like to attend, students should objectively compare college costs in order to determine what will be the best fit in the long run.
Here are three key factors to consider when comparing college costs.
Depending on the size of school, competition for admission, and where the school is located a student may be granted more aid at one institution than another.
It is up for the student to weigh scholarship costs with coming out of pocket or taking out student loans to make up the difference at another school that may not offer as much aid!
Even if the school only offers a certain amount, students are encouraged to get creative and apply for private scholarships through big companies, civic groups, or service and leadership awards. Some individuals may also qualify for grants, which do not have to be paid back.
Not all loans were created equal.
While federal loans are subsidized by the government and can be offered at a competitive interest rate, many students need to take our private loans to offset college costs.
Being young and inexperienced, many students go with the loans/lenders often recommended by their desired universities.
What many do not know is that just one afternoon’s worth of research and comparison loan shopping (affiliate link) could save them thousands of dollars in interest over the life of the loan.
Cost of Living
Many students receive enough federal aid to cover the cost of their tuition and books, but need additional financing to cover room and board.
With this in mind, it is important to take into consideration the cost of living for the college town you are considering.
Obviously New York City will cost more than a typical, small college town. There are pros and cons for both: large cities will have better public transportation and reduce the need for a car, while small college towns probably offer more discounts to stimulate the college student economy.
Other items to consider in cost of living: if students need a new computer, if the only housing available is on-campus, and if there are abundant job opportunities for both college students and recent graduates.
While we can’t make you promise you won’t trust your gut and make an instinctive choice when deciding on which college to attend (after all you’ll spend four years there and learn some of life’s most important lessons during that time!), students should always go in with eyes open and become educated borrowers before signing on the dotted line.
How much did attending college cost you? Did you forget any of these factors when you made the decision of where you would go to college?
Author Bio: Allen Kors is the Founder and CEO of Achieve Lending (affiliate link), the first ever search engine for education loans. Designed to help both traditional and non-traditional students find the best student loans, Achieve Lending offers users a free online portal to search, find, and compare student loans, often in as little as 30 seconds.
Kors founded Achieve Lending at just 27 years old after six years of working in the finance industry. His resume boasts time spent at the world's premier financial firms, with positions in investment banking, private equity, angel investing, and consulting. After leaving his job in angel investing to pursue entrepreneurship and form his own financial technology company, Kors now aims to build the ‘Kayak' for education loans and empower Achieve Lending users by providing financial education on the loan process and terminology.
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