Since her junior year is now in the books, it’s time for a update.
The Exact Breakdown
Tuition/Room & Board/Books: $10,143
- Tuition = $3059*
- Room = $2950
- Board (Meal Plan) = $3800
- Books = $334
- Required Campus Fees = $888
- Technology Fees = $290
- Sports Combo Pass = $150
- Dues & House Maintenance: $1032
- Moms/Dads Weekends, Flowers, Musical Production = $1433
What’s Not Included:
Spending money – Lindsey is responsible for her own spending money so I don’t have costs for things like eating out, snacks, toiletries, school supplies, clothing, laundry, gas, etc.
Junior year came in $765 higher than sophomore year. Room costs were $400 lower, books were lower by almost $300, and sorority expenses were $1400 higher, so that accounted for most of the difference.
Here’s our running total for the first three years of college:
- Freshman year: $17,435
- Sophomore year: $13,171
- Junior year: $13,936
- Total: $44,542
It’s also important to consider how cost-effective your degree will be. What jobs are available for the recipient of your degree, and what are the starting salaries? Keep this in mind while searching for a school, and make sure you do not exclude online universities in your search. If you get a masters in cyber security online, for example, you’ll be eligible for a number of high-paying jobs right off the bat. Computer technology is showing no signs of dying down, and an expert in cyber security will always be a worthwhile profession. You should learn more about this particular program if the aforementioned descriptions sounds appealing.
How Our Family is Paying Cash for College
We set an ambitious goal of paying for college without debt, despite the fact that we had very little saved for college going in. Here are the things that have helped us do that so far:
- We chose The University of Kansas, an in-state school with affordable costs. KU also offers a four year tuition compact so that tuition costs are locked in for four years.
- Lindsey earned academic scholarships, which brought the cost of tuition down even more.
- Lindsey has worked during both the summers and the school year so that she can pay for incidentals. She’s also very frugal and a good steward of both her money and ours, which we appreciate.
- A couple of years before Lindsey started college, I started setting aside my earnings from freelance writing/blogging into a account earmarked for her college expenses. Even though the amounts I receive are often small, faithfully saving each one and getting a slight head start has paid for a chunk of her college costs. The remainder we pay for out of our monthly cash flow.
So that’s a real-life look at one family’s first three years of college expenses. Anything surprise you? Are you saving or paying for college right now?
Note: Lindsey and I blogged for two years on the U.S. News & World Report education site. Our blog was about college from both a parent and student points of view. You can read our archived blog posts at Twice the College Advice.