So, yesterday I sat down to think about Jake’s college account and whether we’re on track or not. He just turned 5 last week and we’re actually already considering whether we want to try and fully fund his college tuition knowing that Addie and Kaitlyn are right behind him at ages 3 and 1. So I did a bit of research on what college is running these days and here’s what I found:
In the state of Alabama for the 2015-2016 school year, public in-state tuition averaged $5,929 and a school like Auburn or Alabama could run as much as $10,170. Many schools include the following expenses in their published cost for attendance but the real numbers can vary significantly.
· Books and supplies – In Alabama, books average $1,285 yearly. Most colleges provide estimates of this cost.
· Personal expenses – This category includes everything from late-night takeout to laundry and telephone bills, and the tab can add up quickly. For the 2013-2014 academic year, the national average for personal expenses at a four-year public college was $2,105.
· Room and board – Living costs over and above personal expenses averaged $11,000 for on-campus living and $11,600 for off-campus living in the state of Alabama for the 2015-2016 school year.
· Travel – Don’t forget to add in the cost for travel between home and campus for the weekends, vacations, and semester breaks. Consider how often your child will make the trip home and what mode of transportation will be used (bus, train, plan or car). For the 2013-2014 academic year, the national average for transportation costs at four-year public colleges was $1,123.
Pre-college Expenses – Even before kids enroll, college costs start adding up.
· Testing – High school students usually take at least one test for college admission, such as the SAT, ACT, or Advanced Placement (AP) exams. Because test results are very important in the admissions process, students may opt to take an exam more than once to improve their scores. Plan on at least $200 in testing fees.
· Test preparation – To gear up for college admissions tests, students may want or need to take preparation courses, which can run into the thousands of dollars for classroom instruction. Online exam prep courses typically cost less. Many who tout increased score results offer to reimburse you if kids don’t actually improve.
· Application fees – Submitting an application typically costs between $35 and $60 per school. There is a growing list of schools that have a $75 application fee. Given that most students apply to between 6 and 10 colleges, these fees can amount to several hundred dollars.
Stay tuned for more info on what Rob and I are doing to save for Jake’s college and how we plan to prepare for the girls’ education as well.