How much you’ll need to pay for school

Explore how much money you’ll need for school.

Why costs vary
The amount of money you’ll need for education depends on many factors: whether you want to attend a community college, a university, flight school, correspondence school, trade school, or an apprentice program. College costs can also vary depending on whether you attend a private college or a public university in your state or out of state.

COA: A simple way to compare costs
Each year, all schools above the high school level (postsecondary educational institutions) develop a Cost of Attendance figure, or COA. The COA is the total cost of full time education for one year. It includes the average cost of instruction, known as tuition; fees, books, and supplies; and housing and meals, also called room and board. Contact any school that interests you and ask about their COA.

Other factors to consider
Money’s not the only factor to consider when comparing schools. The fact that one school costs more than another doesn’t guarantee that the quality of education will be better. Consider other factors, such as, whether the school:

  • Has a strong program in the subjects you’ll be studying
  • Has a good reputation
  • Has the kind of environment you think you’ll enjoy
  • Provides job placement assistance
  • Has a high percentage of graduates who were able to find jobs in their chosen career
  • Has support or organizations for veterans

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