School costs can be one of the most important factors in choosing potential colleges or career schools—and costs can vary significantly from school to school. While the cost of college includes tuition and fees, it also includes equipment, travel, and more.
You’ll want to make sure that the cost of your school is reasonable compared to your earning potential in your future career. In other words, you want to make sure that you can earn enough money to cover any student loan payments you may need to make, along with living expenses, after you graduate.
You can look up the cost and assess the value of colleges using the College Scorecard.
Many students worry that tuition and the other costs of continuing their education will be out of reach. But don’t let the potential costs stop you. Cost is only part of the picture. Most students receive some kind of financial aid; and a few students even get a “free ride,” with all their costs covered.
There are many sources of financial aid to help you cover the cost of college or career school. You should:
- learn about financial aid including grants, scholarships, work-study, and loans;
- find out whether the school (and the major/program) you’re considering participates in the federal student aid programs (the biggest source of aid for college and career school);
- apply for all types of aid for which you might qualify; and meet all deadlines!
The Internal Revenue Service also provides tax benefits for education. To help you see the total annual costs of schools you’re interested in and to find out if the schools participate in the federal student aid programs, explore the college search tool.