The UrbanDictionary Of College Pricing

The popular website defines the latest slang words used by mostly young people. It seems, however, that terms aren’t only being used out on the streets. Even colleges are using a handful of terms to describe the different types of tuition and fees. In this post I hope to clarify the 5 different terms used by colleges to describe their prices, based on the original story by CNN Money.

1. Tuition & Fees: Basic tuition to attend (based on per semester or per year basis) as well as the extra charges for things like lab fees, equipment fees, etc.

2. Direct costs- Tuition, fees, room & board. Note that indirect costs, which should also be factored when choosing a college or looking to save money, include things like textbooks, travel, and food. These could vary depending on the location of the school, the types of courses the student has, etc.

3. Sticker price- The total cost before any deductions. Includes tuition and fees, room and board, and indirect costs like travel. CNN Money reports that about 1/2 of students attending a public university pay less than the sticker price due to at least one scholarship or grant.

4. Net price- Price after grants and scholarships (can be need based or non-need based). Use a net price calculator to see how much projected aid you will receive!

5. Out of pocket price- Actual price student will pay, with deductions from financial aid and loans.

Wouldn’t it be easier if there were just one price without all of the hidden fees and deductions? A college tuition figure can take up to 5 different meanings, making it difficult to compare prices and determine if you can actually afford the college you want!


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