Compare Colleges Find Scholarships Financial Literacy College Pulse

Tag Archive | "Tuition & Fees"

5 of the Most Expensive College Degrees – Worth The Cost?

collegedegreeCollege is expensive, but some degree programs cost a magnitude more than others. Did you know that there are degree programs, both undergraduate and graduate, that cost well over a hundred thousand dollars?

Due to the prestige of the college, the intensity of the program or simply because of the high demand for the degree, these colleges charge exuberant amounts of money. To help protect your pocketbook, here’s a roundup of five of the most expensive college degrees:

Law School

According to US News & World Report the average law school program costs over $150,000 and the average law school student graduates with $93,359 in debt. Why is the price so high? Mainly because law school programs are typically taught by legal professionals who demand high salaries, but also because the law schools know they can get that much for their product.

Juris Doctorates (law degrees) are still widely considered to be one of the most respected credentials in American education, so law schools are able to put a premium pricing on their premium product. But it’s also important to note that some law schools charge significantly more than others, so choose wisely when it comes time to submit those LSAC applications.

Remember that some law schools also offer incredible financial aid opportunities, allowing you to earn your JD without racking up significant student loan debt. Before signing up for the full price of tuition and other fees, make sure to explore all available financial opportunities.

Medical School

Everyone knows that it takes many years, in some cases even up to be a decade to become a qualified doctor. As a result, the price sticker for medical school tends to be extremely high. Unless your parents are funding your education or you have a huge amount of money in savings, it’s normal to graduate from medical school with a substantial amount of student loan debt.

In 2010, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the median debt at medical school graduation was $150,000 for those graduating from public institutions and $180,000 for those graduating from private institutions. Again it’s important to note that there are some financial aid opportunities available for medical school students, but the cost of earning MD credentials is still oftentimes extremely high.

Fortunately, many doctors command high salaries, which makes paying off this debt in a reasonable time frame a realistic possibility.

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

To make the most out of an increasingly competitive job market, many students are heading back to school during mid-career to increase their earning potential with an MBA (Master of Business Administration). Although this degree can help graduates land better-paying, senior positions, it also tends to be an extremely expensive degree to obtain.

The average cost of an MBA is around $60,000, while the average cost of an MBA program from a private school is well over $100,000. For example, if you want to attend Stanford University for your MBA, the total cost of your program (including average sacrificed salary) was recently calculated by Poets & Quants to be $351,662.

While there are some scholarships and grant options for MBA students, they are not as commonly available as with other types of graduate degrees. However, some companies reimburse their employees for the costs of their MBAs, so make sure to explore this option if you’re considering getting an MBA and want to avoid the mega-sized bill at the end of your program.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Getting a PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) takes many years, often requiring between 4-7 years of intensive study. As no surprise, completing a PhD program can be extremely expensive. Due to the huge array of PhD programs available in different fields, the exact average cost of a PhD is hard to determine, but the average PhD typically costs over $100,000 to complete.

Despite this high cost, many PhD students do get plenty of funding and scholarships, especially if they are studying a ground breaking subject or anything that will directly benefit the school which they’re attending. It is fairly unusual to come across academic PhD students that have no funding whatsoever, so this degree may not necessarily cost the student quite as much as it initially seems.

Private Undergraduate Programs

So far we’ve only taken a look at graduate programs, but virtually any undergraduate program completed at a private institution will cost a pretty penny. In fact, the average annual tuition cost of a private undergraduate program is $39,800! That’s $159,200 for four years of tuition, and all just to earn an undergraduate degree.

However, even though the sticker price is extremely high for programs from private schools, don’t forget that they are extremely generous in awarding financial aid opportunities too. While very few students end up paying the full price of their education at a private school, though even with those discounts, many still end up graduating with significant student loan debt.

Weighing Up the Pros and Cons  

Each of the above degree programs may be extremely expensive, but don’t forget that they’re also often viewed as the entrance price for earning one’s access to the best salaried jobs on the market.

While it may cost quite a bit to earn the credentials, the eventual pay-off can be even more massive. Ultimately, the choice of just how much to invest in your education is entirely up to you!

Now that you’ve seen some of the priciest programs in higher education– do you think they’re actually worth the cost?

Today’s guest article is provided by Kar Strout

Posted in Paying For CollegeComments Off on 5 of the Most Expensive College Degrees – Worth The Cost?

Tuition Guarantees – Helping To Manage College Costs

There’s no two ways about it, college can be extremely expensive, leading many students to graduate with staggering amounts of student loan debt that takes years or even decades to fully repay.

The high cost of college is definitely a worry for many students, especially since it isn’t unusual for colleges or universities to raise their tuition rates from semester to semester. These increases in tuition make it extremely difficult for students to effectively budget for educational costs, leading some to graduate with much more student debt than they’d initially predicted.

However, while the cost of college is always going to be pricey, there is an extremely reliable way to budget for and plan for your educational costs: the tuition guarantee.

What is Tuition Guarantee?

Tuition guarantees “lock in” your tuition rate for the duration of your degree program. Tuition guarantees are now being touted by many colleges and universities (both by online and traditional brick-and-mortar schools) as a way to ensure that their tuition rates won’t change from semester to semester, allowing students to determine the total tuition costs of their college education at the outset, rather than being surprised with higher price tags at the end of it all.

Tuition guarantees may have certain conditions attached to them, such as requiring that the degree be completed within a certain timeframe or that the student remain in good academic standing for the duration of their degree, but at least they protect students from rapidly rising tuition rates. Overall, tuition guarantee are an extremely appealing incentive for students who can’t afford to leave their college costs up to guess work.

Why Attend a School that Offers a Tuition Guarantee?

Tuition guarantees are basically the only way to accurately plan, budget and pay for an education as they allow students to know exactly how much tuition will be owed up front and from day one. This means that there won’t be any unexpected financial surprises along the way, since students won’t have to worry about tuition rates suddenly increasing due to inflation, financial crises or other unforeseen events.

To put this into perspective, the average public college experiences an 8% increase in tuition rates each year, which means you could easily save thousands of dollars over the course of your degree by choosing a program that offers to freeze your tuition rate based on the first years’ cost.

The average tuition rate for a public four-year university was around $8,244 in 2011. Given the 8% increase in tuition every year, if you started school in 2011 by the time you start your last year of school in 2014 you would end up paying just over $11,000 for your final year. That is a huge increase from your freshman tuition rate.

Attending a program with a tuition guarantee doesn’t just help you plan for the costs of your collegiate career, but in virtually every case, it will save you thousands of dollars.

How to Find Schools Offering Tuition Guarantees

Unfortunately, not all colleges and universities offer tuition guarantees, so you’re going to have to do a bit of online digging to find those that do offer this great money saving incentive. A simple Google search should reveal some of the top tuition guarantee programs out there, and is likely the best way to find schools providing this option to their students.

In addition to doing your own research, consider consulting your high school or other educational advisor to see if they have specific suggestions for schools offering the benefit, as this is an important option that they shouldn’t be overlooking.

Tuition guarantees can save you money on your degree, allow you to more effectively budget the overall costs of your college education and reduce the amount of stress and anxiety that you’ll experience while in school. Don’t make the mistake of overlooking this advantageous educational opportunity, as you could stand to sacrifice thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars for neglecting to do so!

Today’s guest article is provided by Kar Strout

Posted in Paying For CollegeComments (1)

Affordable Care Act – Health Options For College Students

Regardless of whether you are a recent graduate from high school or an older adult headed back to college for a new degree, the possible ramifications of being blindsided with a serious and unexpected medical condition while in college are significant. The ramifications would of course be amplified without health insurance—the financial costs alone can be staggering. Some simple research, planning, and minor investment in a health insurance plan during your college years can mean the difference between a small deductible and thousands of dollars of medical debt on top of your student loans. Understanding your options is the first step in developing a health insurance strategy for your college years.

In 2010, the United States congress signed into law the Affordable Care Act (ACA). While the ACA was principally focused on health insurance for all US citizens, it also included provisions specific to college students. In March of 2012, the Department of Health and Human Services released final regulations for Student Health Insurance Coverage under the ACA, which clarified and expanded some of the ACA’s provisions as it relates to student coverage. Following is a discussion of the changes resulting from the ACA, the HHS rules and other student health insurance options.

Your Parents’ Health Insurance

The first question you need to address is whether or not you are able to be covered by your parents’ insurance plan.  If you are, this should carry over through your college years, thanks to the health insurance provisions of the ACA.  Prior to the signing of the ACA, health insurance policies often limited coverage of dependents to those of minor age, and required all dependents covered by the policy to be living in the same residence of the primary policy holder. Under the ACA, however, these restrictions were relaxed to allow non-resident coverage, and extended the maximum coverable age to 26.

Be aware though that being covered by your parent’s insurance policy doesn’t always solve all of the health insurance problems. Most insurance plans require the provider to be a member of their network. This may pose a problem to students who are attending college far from their parents’ residence. While the provisions of the ACA do address this issue in regard to Emergency Room visits, they do not eliminate the risk that you may pay a premium for out-of-network service providers.

School-Sponsored Insurance Plans

If you are not eligible to be insured under your parent’s policy you still have several options. First and foremost among these is to seek coverage under your college or university’s health insurance plan, if it has one.  According to the U.S. government’s General Accounting Office, more than half of all colleges and universities sponsor their own medical insurance plans for students. The GAO reported annual premiums for the policies ranging from as little as $30 per year to as much as $2,400, with an average of $850 per year. The best way to check if this is an option for you is to consult with your Office of Student Services to see if the college offers health insurance coverage. In addition, health care clinics and services are often available to students on campus and can supplement the provisions of your college’s insurance plan.

The HHS regulations redefine the way the plans are classified, and therefore changes the way that coverage is made available.  The new rule defines ACA student plans as “individual health care coverage” and offers new protections.  Some of these include the removal of lifetime limits on coverage, restrictions on insurance companies being able to drop coverage in the midst of sickness, and a lifting of pre-existing condition restrictions for students under the age of 19.  The purpose of the new rule is to keep students covered in most circumstances until the new health care regulations of 2014 take place.

Annual Limits

The new HHS rule dictates that annual limits must be a minimum of $100,000 for policies from July to September of 2012, and a minimum of $500,000 from September of 2012 to January of 2014.  After January of 2014, no limits may be imposed. This could result in higher premiums for coverage.

Medical Loss Ratio

Starting in 2013, calculations of medical loss ratio will have to take in a wider variety of plans, making sure that students are not excluded because of the plan they have chosen.  This also, includes a move from State by State aggregation to national aggregation.

Notice Requirement

Health insurance issuers will be required to disclose to the student when the policy being issued does not meet the minimum annual limits requirements.  Students must also be notified when they become eligible for health coverage as a dependent under their parents’ employer plan The rule also states that students must be notified in terms that they can easily understand so as to avoid confusion, and that such notices must be posted in easy to spot places so that everyone is aware of what they are purchasing.

What These Changes Mean

Students will now have more control over their health care options.  The new rule helps to ensure that students have access to healthcare that they need, and that they are given viable, affordable options.  The rule also is designed to help students be more aware of what rules, restrictions, and provisions their health care plans include so that they are not caught off guard by unseen changes.

Uncertainty Around The ACA Persists

The ACA has met with significant debate by citizens and legislators, and the fact that full enactment of its provisions doesn’t happen until 2014, mean that there is still uncertainty as to how long these rules will remain in place. Congress is scheduled to consider the ACA again during the summer of 2012 and it’s likely that the debate (and possible changes to the law) will continue during the roll-out period. However, as already discussed, there are aspects of the law pertaining to health insurance coverage that are already implemented, including options for acquiring both private and government-provided coverage. One of the best ways to figure out these options is to check out the presentation of current and future provisions of the Affordable Care Act at

Other Alternatives to Healthcare for Students

Preventative Care

A provision of the ACA designed to facilitate preventative care and which was put into effect immediately upon enactment of the law is its coverage of certain preventative care screenings—these procedures have been made available to all health insurance policy holders without charge, and without payment of normal co-pay fees or charges.

Online Prescriptions

Many students now order their prescriptions online, which provides them with a continuous supply of the medications that they need, while saving them money in the process. If you find that the prescriptions that you need are breaking the bank every month, you can definitely take advantage of some online offers that are sure to save you money. Online pharmacies are also much more convenient than traditional versions, since you do not have to wait for your prescription to be filled or visit a store during regular business hours. 

Free or Low-Cost Community Clinics

If your campus does not have a major medical clinic it is a good idea to check on the availability of free or reduced-fee health care services provided the local county or city health clinics. Many of these clinics provide an impressive array of services that many are not aware of, and provide these services at incredibly affordable prices. Nearly every county in the country that is large enough to host a college or university campus will have a public health facility of some kind.  It is also important to know that in the case of an actual medical emergency, even if you do not have medical insurance, there is the hospital Emergency Room. In accordance with the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA), Hospital Emergency Medical Departments cannot turn away patients who demonstrate an immediate health conditions which is recognized as an “emergency health situation” under the guidelines of the EMTALA.

The ACA has done much to improve the availability and affordability of healthcare for college students. Understanding the recent changes, as well as your other options, will help you identify a health insurance plan and strategy that is right for you.

Today’s guest article is provided by Ryan Devereux. Mr. Devereux is a financial blogger who has followed the healthcare debate in the United States. He wrote this article on behalf of the team, who work to find the appropriate occupational therapy academic program for prospective therapists.

Posted in Paying For CollegeComments Off on Affordable Care Act – Health Options For College Students

College Costs – Tis The Season For Tuition Pricing

The cost of college tuition has been rising dramatically over the years — greater than the rate of inflation in most instances. Colleges and universities try to keep these tuition increases at a minimum for their students and families but, unfortunately, budget cuts and reduced funding at the state and federal level sometime dictate a different outcome.

Over the next few months, higher education institutions will be convening their boards and trustees to help establish what their position will be on tuition pricing for the upcoming academic year. When it comes down to it, they really only have three options: Increase Tuition Rates, Freeze The Cost of Tuition, or Reduce Tuition Rates. Let’s take a look at these three options and see the pros and cons for each.

Increase Tuition Rates


  • Price (higher) equals prestige…
  • College will be better equipped to meet budget demands and provide more student focused initiatives


  • Students will have to find a way to cover the additional costs…
  • College may price themselves out of range for some prospective families
  • Some upperclass students may not return (probably because of other issues but the tuition increase may provide additional justification)

Some tuition increase articles from the last year:

Tuition Freeze


  • Keeps tuition rate at the same level and families and students don’t have to worry about absorbing additional costs
  • Provides a marketing tool for the university when trying to recruit prospective students
  • Could help to boost enrollment numbers for incoming and returning students


  • University will have to absorb the lack of tuition increase into their budget (may not be a problem for many but with costs rising in every other sector it could be a challenge)
  • Based upon the above, some new student programming initiatives may be delayed indefinitely

Examples of schools providing tuition freezes:

Reduction In Tuition


  • Students (and their families) will be holding parties in the streets in favor of this decision
  • Provides a huge marketing edge for the university to use in recruitment of prospective students
  • A reduction in tuition rate may put a college or university in the prospect pool for more families.


  • In order to sustain/support this model (tuition reduction) a university or college will need to have steady growth in enrollment.
  • If the tuition reduction is rolled out to upperclass students (and depending on the amount of the reduction), their financial aid packages may need to be adjusted accordingly so that the desired net revenue is still met by the college (University of the South – Sewanee recently got some flack for this approach)
  • Students will not have as much tuition expense to deduct on their taxes using the 1098-T. This is actually a good con! 😉

Examples of some colleges providing a reduction in tuition costs:

So What Do You Think?

After looking at all of these options, what do you think would be the best approach for your university or college to adopt as it moves forward in tuition pricing for the upcoming academic year. Can you think of any other options or approaches to tuition pricing? Feel free to leave your comments, thoughts, or ideas below.

Posted in Paying For CollegeComments Off on College Costs – Tis The Season For Tuition Pricing

Public College Costs On The Rise (video)

Posted in VideosComments Off on Public College Costs On The Rise (video)

Warning! – Double Digit Tuition Increases Ahead

The title of this article could probably reflect what a street sign would look like if it were placed near a campus that was getting prepared to hike tuition rates by at least 10%…or more.

Tuition increases have far outpaced inflation over the years but I have been a little hopeful lately as I see more and more colleges implementing modest to no increase in their tuition rate. That was of course until I got news about some recent bumps in tuition that students will be feeling next academic year in their wallets.

The first is Temple University, found in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They recently announced that they will be increasing tuition by 10 percent for in-state students and 5.4 percent for out-of-state students for the coming academic year. The percentage increase impact in dollars comes to about $1,200. The total in-state tuition at Temple will be $13,006 and the out-of-state tuition will be $22,832.

The second is the University of Tennessee college system. The trustees recently voted in approval of a 12 percent tuition increase at their main campus. This will bring the Knoxville campus’s annual tuition rate to $8,396. Ten percent increases were also approved for the satellite campuses located in Martin and Chattanooga.

To the credit of each of these Universities, the double digit increases were not adopted without hesitation and it does appear that a decrease in state funding is to blame in each situation (or at least that is what University officials are claiming)… Of course, I have already offered my solution to all the state budget woes and the impact it has on education funding for colleges.

If you are a student that is attending one of the colleges above, or you just find yourself having a difficult time absorbing the tuition increases at your school, I encourage you to check out this article for help in dealing with rising college costs. Also, it never hurts to browse over our College Resource Center for additional assistance and ideas.

Posted in State NewsComments (1)

Move To Massachusetts For Free Tuition? What About Fees?

I really enjoy when gets to showcase great tuition deals across the nation. I especially like it when I hear the word FREE combined with tuition.

Last week, the University of Massachusetts – Lowell (UML) just offered a free tuition option for students looking to transfer in from local community colleges this coming Fall Semester. This new program (referred to as Advantage Plus) will provide up to four semesters of free tuition (which should be enough for most students to complete their bachelor’s degree requirement).

The following are the qualifying requirements for the free tuition offer:

  • Must be a graduate from one of 15 Massachusetts Community Colleges
  • Students must have and maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher

The current in-state annual tuition rate at UML is $1,454. So a student could potentially save about $3,000 over the span of two years while they complete their bachelors degree. Seems like a pretty descent offer right? Well… as Paul Harvey says “and now for the rest of the story”…

Even though UML is offering free tuition, this population of students will still be responsible for annual fees totaling over $9,000 and if they plan on living and eating on campus, that will be an additional $9,000. So, they get $1,454 in free tuition each year but could experience about $18,000 in extra expenses…ugh. Doesn’t sound like such a great deal anymore.

The basis of this story is that it is important for you to inquire about ALL the fees being charged by the colleges that you are looking at attending (Tuition, Room, Board, and Fees). In the case of UML, they have amazingly cheap tuition but they will quickly depress your college savings with their fees. Other schools may have reasonably high tuition rates but little to no fees. So be smart and try to compare apples to apples when looking at college costs and not apples to oranges.

Posted in MassachusettsComments Off on Move To Massachusetts For Free Tuition? What About Fees?

Going Beyond Tuition When Factoring College Expenses

We all know that the cost of college is a moving target. Some of your charges are billed directly from the school, some are offset by financial aid, and some are added “soft-costs” that you pick up along the way. It is hard to figure out the exact expense that your checkbook will absorb over the 4 year span but the following info-graphic helps to shed light on some of the more common non-tuition education expenses that you will experience (click on the picture for the full-size version):

Posted in Paying For CollegeComments (4)