Expand mobile version menu

How much does college cost?

There are several types of college costs that make up a college's "Cost of Attendance:"

  • Tuition and fees
  • Room and board
  • Books and supplies
  • Personal, transportation and miscellaneous expenses

Tuition and fees

"Tuition" is the amount of money colleges charge for each class they offer. Students that are considered "in-state" or "resident" for the purposes of tuition may be eligible for the College Opportunity Fund stipend, which will lower the amount you pay for tuition.

Colleges also charge a variety of fees, such as a technology or student services fee, to help offset the cost of offering these services. Tuition and fees are direct costs of attending school and usually must be paid (or payment arrangements made) to the school before you begin the first day of classes.

Room and board

If you will live in a residence hall, you will also have to pay college room and board expenses up front. Even if you live off-campus, you should estimate how much you will pay for rent, food, utilities and other living expenses.

Books, supplies, personal, transportation and miscellaneous

Other items, such as personal expenses, transportation and in some cases, housing, are indirect costs for which you can budget and pay over the full academic year. You should also budget for expenditures that are not included in the college's Cost of Attendance (COA) calculation such as car payments, health insurance and vacation travel.

When you look at a college's COA, remember that it's possible your actual expenditures may be less than the school's estimated COA. For example, you may be able to save on books by buying used books instead of new, or you could share the cost of an apartment by rooming with a friend (however, some colleges do require that freshman live on campus in student housing during their first year).

College costs vary widely based on the type of school you attend. You can compare costs between private, public four-year and public two-year colleges on the side-by-side comparison of Colorado schools.

When you choose a college, don't base your decision solely on costs. Think about your career goals and educational needs too. Financial aid is available to offset the costs for many students and families. You can view Colorado college financial aid websites by school.

Financial Aid Award Estimator

The Financial Aid Award Estimator (FAAE) is a tool you can use to help you determine how much it costs to attend a particular Colorado college, as well as give you an estimate of what types of federal financial aid you may be eligible to receive.

SLOPE™ Calculator

What is the maximum amount I should borrow in student loans? Experts agree that your future student loan payments should not exceed 8% of your expected annual income, or if you are married, 8% of your household income.

Once you have looked at the Financial Aid Award Estimator you can take the financial aid estimate information from that to use in the SLOPE Calculator.

The SLOPE Calculator is a tool designed to help you decide how much you can afford to borrow based on how much you may earn from your intended career. SLOPE also offers a budgeting feature that allows you to itemize what you may spend each month to see whether you will make enough money to support your desired lifestyle.