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6 Financial Factors to Consider When Choosing a College

By    |   Thursday, 16 Mar 2017 10:08 AM

Students often consider the location, programs, and campus advantages when choosing a college, but they shouldn’t forget about the financial factors involved. Finances greatly affect a student’s functions and accomplishments during and after college.

Reading literature, obtaining information from school websites, going through the interview process, and visiting campuses help in making the right choice. Students and their parents, however, should also take into account the money that will be shelled out for a good education.

Here are six financial factors to consider when choosing a college:

1. Costs — Parents and students might focus on tuition when evaluating the cost of a college education, but there are many other fees involved. Expenses can include costs for textbooks, housing, food, parking, and other various things, notes CollegeAtlas.org. Certain college courses have fees for supplies or equipment. Then there are costs for health services and extracurricular activities, as well as different expenses for living on- or off-campus, which should also be factored in.

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2. Application fees — Before a student even enters college, application fees can take a bite out of finances. Some students intend to apply to different schools, which have high and low fees. If so, they may want to avoid schools with higher application fees if they know they have better chances of getting into a smaller school, Moneycrashers advises.

3. Financial aid — Closely research financial aid packages offered at different colleges. Information on financial aid can usually be found through a particular school’s website. Student loans may sound attractive, but parents may have to consider if a child’s selected major will lead to a lucrative job, future debt, and the return on investment, the Charlotte Observer reports.

4. Work opportunities — Along with available scholarships or grants, many schools offer work-study programs that may reduce the costs or need for financial aid or loans. Many students work their way through college. Jobs also offer additional skills and experience that can increase income after graduation.

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5. Paying down debt — Repaying loans can lead to financial struggles for students when they start out in the workforce. The costs in the future and ability to pay off loans are among the financial factors to consider, according to the Home Room blog of the Department of Education.

6. After-college earnings — When choosing a college and major, potential salaries in careers play an important role for a financially secure future, especially if students need to pay off student loans. The Department of Education has a scorecard with information on average earnings for students after enrolling in certain colleges.

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