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# Off to College- It Costs How Much?

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##### Description:

After completion of this exercise, you will be able to use internet based  sources to  list the   costs of 5 colleges of interest including the tuition, room and board and  likely hidden costs.   You would have developed the  likely hidden costs list after consulting with the sites listed in the activities and through an interview  with a current college student.

Among the many issues that make the transition from high school to college a difficult one for many students (and their parents) is the amount of money involved.  Almost all schools make public their tuition and room and board costs in an effort to help prospective students and their families draw meaningful comparisons among postsecondary institutions they may be considering about the expense of going to school.  While these two expenses, tuition and room and board, are certainly common to the college experience and most likely the largest portion of a student’s educational expenditure, they are not all of it.

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Tutorial

## Acknowledgements

This exercise was developed under the direction of  Mark Gebert, a lecturer in the College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Statistics at the University of Kentucky.

A similar kind of activity has been used in STA210: Introduction to Statistical Reasoning  which is a component of the University’s general education program, UK Core (see more at http://www.uky.edu/UGE/documents/Templates/Statistical.pdf). Successful students who complete this course at UK should be able to articulate how statistical science can be used to address uncertainty in many of our decisions and decide whether a statistical argument (that is used, for example, in the mainstream media) is valid.

## Introduction

Among the many issues that make the transition from high school to college a difficult one for many students (and their parents) is the amount of money involved.  Almost all schools make public their tuition and room and board costs in an effort to help prospective students and their families draw meaningful comparisons among postsecondary institutions they may be considering about the expense of going to school.  While these two expenses, tuition and room and board, are certainly common to the college experience and most likely the largest portion of a student’s educational expenditure, they are not all of it. This learning object will explore some sources of information for comparing college  tuition and room and board costs.  Beyond the basic, documented costs, are hidden costs and sometimes money wasters.   Adding up documented and hidden costs will get  your closes to  “real cost of college”.

## Step One: College Affordability

It is no secret that college costs have sky-rocketed,  are out of control and seem to keep raising each year.   Pulling in the the opposite direction is that the importance of obtaining a college degree helps secure a better future.  How much does college cost each year and how can it be made affordable through financial aid, planning and a knowledge of  the real costs of higher education.    Follow this link to the "College Affordability and Transparency Center" and see first hand how much  college  tuition has jumped over time.  Plug in a few colleges to compare private and public,  four year and two programs.

## Step Two: Developing Your College Top Picks

Follow this link to CNN Money,  "how much will that college really cost?", and enter in following examples.  Develop a list of these entries and their costs.

(1)  A local college
(2)  A regional college in your state ( instate tuition)
(3)  A College from a neighboring state
(4)  A college referred by a school counselor, friend of family member
(5)  A college you might consider a dream or ideal  school

## Step Three: Identifying the Hidden Costs

There are always hidden costs.   Brainstorm with a friend to  identify  50 hidden costs you might imagine college life could  include freshman orientation, buying versus renting books and the cost of routine evens such as friday night pizza parties.  Read CNN Money:  12 Best ways to beat  the hidden costs to develop a list.

Prepare to  seek advice from  experienced students.

(b)  On Facebook, twitter,  skype,  phone or in person, interview an upper classmen or someone who has recently attended college to learn more about hidden costs and experiences to  overcoming hidden costs.

(c)  Take  this new knowledge,  and modify  your  college wish list form above  to also include a  hidden costs amount. Strategize a way to curb costs.

College Affordability and Transparency Center. U.S. Department of Education. http://collegecost.ed.gov/

Four Steps to College,  American Council on Education & Lumina Foundation for Education:   http://www.knowhow2go.org/

"Freshman Planner," Southern Regional Educational Board's Electronic Campus Regional Mentor System. http://www.electroniccampus.org/Planning/Freshman_Planner/Default.asp.

Secret Costs of College,  Better TV.

SREB Fact Book on Higher Education. http://www.sreb.org/page/1123/fact_book_on_higher_education.html

"Tassel: Worth the Hassel?" Students and Parents, Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA). http://www.kheaa.com/website/kheaa/parents?main=1.