What is the Cost of Higher Education?

How Much Does it Cost to go to College, and Where Does the Money Go?

Putting+the+tuition+cost+pieces+together+means+looking+at+how+your+money+is+spent.

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Putting the tuition cost pieces together means looking at how your money is spent.

Money is an ever-pressing issue for college students. College tuition is perhaps one of the biggest factors in determining which college one attends and their lifestyle before and after graduation. Many students simply go to the college that offers the best scholarship. Just how much does it cost to go to college, and where does the money go?

Weigh Your Options

By far the cheapest post-secondary schools are community colleges and trade schools. Community colleges tend to cost between $3,000 and $4,000 a year in Mississippi, which means a person can earn an associate degree or certification for $6,000 to $8,000. 

Flagship schools in Mississippi, the University of Mississippi and Mississippi State Univ., have a basic annual tuition of around $25,000, but after aid, most students only pay $15,000. A bachelor’s degree from one of these schools costs $60,000 to $100,000. 

Private universities usually have much higher tuition, since they don’t receive any sort of public assistance. Private colleges’ tuition is around $20,000 to $36,000 a year. By far the most expensive universities are Ivy Leaguers, like Yale or Harvard, which range from $40,000 to $80,000, although most are around $55,000. It could cost around $220,000 to graduate from one of the Ivy League schools. 

In comparison, Delta State Univ. has a tuition of around $8,200 a year. However, none of these figures take into account the prices of dorms, meals, and books, all of which could easily reach $2,000 a year or more depending on the circumstances and the school.

The Breakdown of Tuition

Where does all the money go? Of course, certain expenses (cost of books, housing, meal plan, campus improvement fees) have a clearly identified end. But what about the rest of it?”

That gives us an idea of how much different schools cost, but where does all the money go? Of course, certain expenses (cost of books, housing, meal plan, campus improvement fees) have a clearly identified end. But what about the rest of it?

You may be surprised to know how little goes to teacher salaries. According to one analyst, around 16% of tuition actually goes to teacher salary, which is around $1,300 based on Delta State tuition. 

An average of 38% of college tuition, or around $3,100, is devoted to healthcare, research and assorted tax costs. That number is probably much higher than you or I ever expected. Another 16% consists of costs of services needed to support teaching operations that don’t involve teaching directly. These services include running the financial aid office or student services. 

The remainder of the cost of tuition, around 30% or around $2,400, is the direct cost of teaching, including smart boards or lab supplies. 

Choose Wisely

College can be a very challenging, worrisome, and stressful time, and tuition certainly adds to that. Remember that what you spend in these four crucial years will affect the way you live for the rest of your life. Choose wisely.