I have mentioned more than once, in my podcast and on Lunch with a Lawyer that a local community college is a great way to save money on your four year degree. By getting an associate's degree first, then transferring the credits to an accredited four year college, the savings can be significant!

Do You Accept Credit Cards?

A good friend of mine has his daughter starting school in the fall; she is going to a community college. He recently found out from his ex-wife that his share of the tuition was $1,200. He said to the school: "Can I put it on my credit card? I can use the points!"

Now not everyone can afford to put that much on their card (let alone pay it off when the bill comes due), but you get the point!

What Does College REALLY Cost?

How does that compare? According to CollegeData.com, the average cost of tuition and fees for the 2017–2018 school year was $34,740 at private colleges, $9,970 for state residents at public colleges, and $25,620 for out-of-state residents attending public universities.

So assuming my friend paid half the tuition for the semester, that means an annual cost of $4,800, about half the average for state residents of public colleges.

But What About Room and Board?

But what if your child is going away to school? The average cost of room and board in 2017–2018 ranged from $10,800 at four-year public schools to $12,210 at private schools. Books and supplies? The average cost for books and supplies for the 2017–2018 school year was $1,250 at public colleges and $1,220 at private colleges.

Total cost? $48,170 for private school and $21,990 for public schools (in state residents) for a 4 year degree.

Community College Saves Money!

But if you go the community college route like my friend's daughter? Assuming $4,800 for tuition annually, and including room and board and supplies, her parents will pay (or she would borrow) $16,850. Not bad!

Sounds Like a Good Idea? Then Learn More!

Want to know more about financial aid planning for college? Going to be filling out that FAFSA form (again) this Fall? Then download my free book, Applying for Federal Financial Aid: The Definitive Guide for Students and Parents!

Steven J. Richardson
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Bankruptcy, Collections, Student Loan, DUI and Traffic Court attorney in Woodbury, NJ.
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