The financial burden of a college education

“College is like paying $40,000 to be punched in the face,” said Elizabeth Rudd.

One of the leading causes that determine whether or not a student will pursue college is cost.

It is no secret that college is expensive. Travis Mitchell of U.S. News said from 2000 to 2016, tuition for public institutions rose by approximately $6,000.

“There is a tuition rate that is determined by the state legislature that is usually agreed upon in May or June, before the semester starts in fall. There’s also different types of fees that each student does have to pay based on the number of credits they attend. Those fees are usually determined by the student fee committee along with the business office. They have some part in determining exactly what fees are placed on each student’s bill,” said Simon Bauer, assistant director of financial aid at St. Cloud State University.

When a student registers for courses, they can view their bill online. On it is a detailed list of itemized expenses. When we talk about the fees, we mainly talk about the services that are provided to students. So the health services, the athletic fees that allow students to use the recreation facilities for free or get them free into sporting events, the department of campus involvement, and all clubs and organizations that those fees pay for,” said Michael Coonen, assistant director of undergraduate admissions.

On a student’s bill, the different fees include: tuition, program-based activity, Minnesota State University Student Association fee, health services, athletics, facilities, student union, and technology. Offering these services for free is how some universities pull in potential undergraduates.

A majority of the fees that are on a student’s bill are based on how many credits they take per semester. “When we’re talking about cost per credit, we always quote a student around $260 a credit, or roughly $8,000 a year for tuition or fees, and that’s going to include, for the most part, all applicable fees,” Coonen said.

In order to afford the expense of college, more and more students rely heavily on different methods of financial aid. Many universities offer opportunities for incoming students to get assistance with budgeting and affording college.

Faculty highly suggests students fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which can be used to receive some type of aid. The Department of Financial Aid is also available to meet with incoming students to discuss their tuition and fees and what the best plan is for them individually.

“I didn’t understand the fees, tuition, or total cost of how much my school was. I didn’t even know when [payments were] due or how to access my account to view my bill. I had a fee for student housing and Tara Winchester in the financial aid office helped me get a grant to cover the expenses,” Ali Ruber said.

With schools such as our own University exerting more effort in communicating costs and budgeting with potential and current students, the possibility of obtaining a degree is becoming less of a financial burden and more of a reality.

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