Over the last three decades, the cost of getting a college degree is gone up significantly and breaking down college tuition costs has gotten more complex.

In fact, as noted in this CNBC article, students paid an average of $3,190 for a public four-year for the 1987-1988 school year. Today, for the 2017-2018 school year, students paid an average of $9,970. As this year’s high school seniors graduate, many of the students in the class behind the have to start the scramble for college. Here is a quick review of what one should expect to pay for college and how they can get more financial aid to take reduce the cost.

How Much Does College Cost?

According to the article “Average Cost of College Statistics For 2018,” here is the average price of college tuition for the 2017-2018 school year which includes tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, transportation, and other expenses:

  • Private 4-Year Not-For-Profit: $50,900
  • Public 4-Year Out-of-State: $40,940
  • Public 4-Year In-State: $25,290
  • Public 2-Year In-District: $17,580
  • Private For-Profit: $16,000 (tuition only)

Although private 4-years are some of the most expensive colleges to attend, Farran Powell, author of “What You Need To Know About College Tuition Costs,” says not to discount them. Many of these schools offer competitive financial aid packages so that they can allure prospective students away from the more cheaply priced public schools.

Moreover, the above-listed costs do not take into account certain financial strategies. For instance, attending college in-state will be much cheaper. If you live at home and commute, you can cut out room and board. If you live close to the campus, especially if you intend to go to a community college first then transfer, then the transportation costs will be slim.

Determining Your Net Price

The key number you need to see is your net price. This is the money that you and your family will need to pay after all scholarships and grants have been applied. This is typically found in your financial aid package that you get from the school. Once you have determined how much you will need to pay, you can consider one of two things: ask for more money to cover the costs or consider loan options. The foremost is the most appealing for loans will most likely be the main financial burden you will be concerned with once you graduate.

Appealing for More Financial Aid

If you find that even after all of your grants and scholarships have been applied you still are not able to afford the net price to attend your desired college, you can write an appeal to get more money. There are two situations that would give you a reason to do so: either your family’s financial situation has drastically changed since applying to college or you got a better deal from another college. In either of these cases, you will need to provide ample evidence to the university justifying your desire for more financial aid. To read more about this process, you can read our other article outlining how you can go about submitting an appeal here.