College Calculator: How Much Does Higher Education Truly Cost?


The cost of higher education is an issue that college students and families currently face. Tuition fees have continued to increase over the years as well as other costs such as living expenses, among others.

It was previously reported that the rising cost of college is not only felt by American families. Parents in the United Kingdom are also bracing themselves for higher university costs.

Data from the Student Loans Company (SLC) revealed that there was a "hidden" rise in the amount that parents are expected to set aside for their child's higher education. It was revealed that some parents are facing a 27 percent increase from last year's rate. This means that a lot of families will be paying hundreds more a year.

This comes after there were changes in the way that student loans are allocated. Before, low-income students were qualified for a non-repayable maintenance grant to help with the cost of living.

The grant was scrapped by former Chancellor George Osborne and replaced with an increased maintenance loan. This maintenance loan is means-tested based on the income of parents.

In a piece by Rochelle Sharpe for The New York Times, she noted that estimating expenses for college is a "murky business." It becomes murkier when "miscellaneous expenses" such as for health insurance or laundry costs are included in the equation.

Schools have estimated how much students would need. Pratt Institute in Brooklyn estimated about $18,500 while St. Joseph's College decided that $10,000 would be enough.

Last year, The State University of New York estimated that its students would need $11,300 while Long Island University students needed $27,500. In Philadelphia, UPenn and Drexel University had a $3,000 difference in off-campus costs for students.

It was noted that about 60 percent of colleges "significantly underestimate or overestimate off-campus living costs." This is based on the research by the Wisconsin HOPE (Harvesting Opportunities for Postsecondary Education) Lab.

It is vital that colleges and universities provide accurate estimates because this data is used to set the upper limit on how a family can borrow from federal and private student loans. Inaccurate data would lead students to borrow much more than how much they need or borrow less and run out of funds.

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