Dissecting the Cost of College

College may be regarded as some of the best years of one’s life socially. Even mentally, one may be at the climax of their education and it’s a beautiful thing to have gone so far and passed so many obstacles along the way. However, financially, it is crippling. For most of the population, college is a necessary evil: without it, it is unlikely you will have a stable career and income, whereas with it, you will have a better chance at making money, and probably a bigger chance of having a bigger debt.

College expenses can add up quickly; be prepared. (photo by lucidtech)


For those who have to pay for college themselves through student loans, work-studies, or grants and scholarships, here is a dissection of the average college student’s expenses, as depicted by lendingtree.com.

Academic Expenses

This is generally understood by the public as the biggest expenses are going to come from this section of a college student’s budget. Within this subsection of expenses are items such as books, printer ink, and tuition. Though these are the most expensive costs of college, they do pay off as they do set up for your future though. They’re a good investment regardless of their costs. Remember, you have to spend money to make money. That quote has never been more true than in the eyes of a college student.

Living Costs

No matter if you claim dependency or are independent, you have living costs. Living on campus is expensive and so is living on your own. Even if in your parent’s home, everyone’s situations differ dramatically and you may have to pay your way to live in your own home. The items in living costs are not limited to, however, include: food expenses, utilities, and products for personal care (ie. shampoo, soap, etc..) There is no way around these costs. At any time in your life, you will have these to pay.

Costs of the Individual

Though in a perfect world, we would not pay for matters of entertainment and travels, we unfortunately don’t live in an utopia, and thus, we pay for those things. If you are an average student, you probably spend money on entertainment at least once or twice a month. You probably hang out with friends on the weekends. You probably also want to look your best. If you are attending an out-of-state college, you will probably go home for the holidays and breaks. These costs can quickly add up. Here is an article on how to save on these expenses.

With all of these things adding up together, your wallet will quickly be drained. One may struggle and live on the stereotypical college student diet of Ramen noodles for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If you would like help with budgeting, bankrate.com offers a student calculator on their website for free to help you decipher what to do with your money and track where it’s going. Budgeting will save you if you stick to it. Always remember, when budgeting, to allow yourself room for screw-ups and unpredictable incidents that may occur.


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