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National Application Center :: pay for college

Plan, explore, and apply to college using these great tools.
Cost of Attendance

Typical Cost of Attendance

Before you can finalize your plans for paying for college, you'll need information about college costs. If you are a high school junior or senior, it's time to get actual cost information.

The typical cost of attendance includes not just tuition, but room and board, fees for special programs or activities, books, personal items (everything from laundry to pizza), and traveling to and from college.

It's important to determine how each college expects these costs--especially tuition and room and board--to change over the time you would be in attendance. Keep in mind that for the past five years, the average cost of attendance has increased each year. Tuition has increased an average of 3-4% per year while room and board 5-6% increased per year. See the Financial Aid Wizard for access to our calculator for college costs.

Print a Checklist for Gathering College Cost Information for each school in which you're interested, and check each college's website, viewbook, catalog, or admission staff to fill in the blanks. Or start with our Cost of Attendance Worksheet, which can provide basic cost information on many colleges, universities, and community colleges.

Don't panic while you're gathering college cost information--and don't rule out colleges in which you're interested just because you think they will cost too much. Remember: financial aid and financing partners will help you meet college costs!

NOTE: If you're getting an early start (good for you!) and you are not ready to put together a firm college choice list, you can still benefit from reviewing current college cost averages.