When it comes time to choose a college or university for secondary education, there are many aspects to consider including reputation, location, length of the program, and costs. Cost is often one of the most important factors so it is important to make comparisons. Costs include more than just tuition though and you will find that the costs differ between the two types of institutions.
The most obvious difference in costs between colleges and universities is the tuition. This is the factor that most people consider first. When you are thinking about tuition costs you should look at:
- How many courses are you going to take?
- Will there be labs and associated fees?
- Are books included in the cost of classes?
Colleges often include the cost of labs and books in their classes, but the costs of the classes may be the same or even a little higher than a class at a university. Add up the costs of buying books and attending labs before you make a comparison.
There are many other expenses involved in getting a secondary education that will vary between colleges and universities. Some of the other expenditures you should consider include:
At a community college you can sometimes avoid the cost of a place to live by staying at home. If the college is close you can travel for a reasonable cost. Universities that are out of state usually have residential halls where you can have a room or even a small apartment on campus. You should explore off-campus options as well. Often colleges and universities will have a selection of off-campus residencies where students can live at a lower cost than on-campus living.
This can include books, pens, and other things such as calculators or computer accessories. Colleges and universities are often similar with these costs when you buy them from the campus stores because they are using the same books from the same publishers. Some colleges include class materials in their tuition fees. You will want to make a detailed comparison to see if one is more cost efficient than the other.
You will need to get to classes, whether you are walking, taking the bus, or driving. If you need to drive you will need to consider the cost of gas and parking fees. If you are taking a public transit you will want to find out if there are student discounts available. Now with the rise of online colleges, travel is a factor that can potentially be eliminated altogether.
Universities tend to expect students to be more involved in student life on-campus so there are likely to be extra fees such as activity fees, dorm fees, cafeteria costs, and other campus related fees. Colleges tend to have more students that live off-campus or live at home so they may not have as many irregular fees. When you are deciding between colleges and universities you may find that colleges have a lower immediate cost while universities have a lower long-term cost. What works best for you? Colleges or universities?