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The Costs of USA Colleges

Let's do the math

How to prepare

When a child is born in the U.S., upper-middle-class families open a savings bank account that will fund their children to send their children to college. Gifts for major birthdays, diplomas, and good grades generally translate into money in this account, which will then become one of the parameters according to which the college will be chosen.

Of the approximately 4,000 institutions listed by the NCES (National Center for Education Statistics), there are over 1,600 public colleges between four-year and two-year degrees, while in the private sector there are nearly 1,700 non-profit colleges versus the few – less than 1,000 – for-profit.

Among these many universities, the costs vary greatly and depend mainly on the type of institution, i.e. public, private or mixed institutions that are partially subsidised by the State. The cost also depends on the academic level of the college and its location.

Finally, it is important to note that the cost for an American student is different than that of an international student, as it is also for an American who attends college in their state of residence or not. The terms in-state tuition and out-of-state tuition determine the difference between a student attending college in his or her state of residence or not.

All international students are obliged to pay out-of-state tuition.

We Split the Expenses

There are several items to consider when we have to “do the math” to send our children to the U.S. Many times parents tend to forget that, even if we haven’t counted it, we pay for their food, transport, books rather than the mobile phone card, shampoo and going to the cinema with friends.
When we have to evaluate how expensive college is in the US we must certainly look at all the expenses (but remember to do the same when making comparisons with the expenses faced in Italy).
The summary table contains all the expenses to be considered and their terms in English.

Important technical terms Important technical terms
Tuition Fee and Tuition Fees Tuition and fees
Room and board Room and Board
Books & Teaching Materials Books and supplies
Medical Insurance Medical insurance
Personal expenses

Personal expenses or Miscellaneous

Federal and/or state taxes Federal and/or state taxes

In general, when we make evaluations to define the Cost of Attendance (COA) of a college, we mainly evaluate the items that you find in blue in the table while the other expenses are based on a series of choices and situations specific to each college or the state in which the institution is located or the type of scholarship awarded. Each case must be evaluated in detail before making a final choice.

To give you an idea of the total costs of the items in blue, we can approximate by saying that annually you can start from a minimum of US$15,000 per year up to a maximum of US$35,000 for two-year Junior Colleges, while for four-year universities, on the other hand, the numbers start from about US$25,000 up to a maximum of US$82,000 per year for 4-year colleges. The average is usually around US$40,000-$55,000 per year.

For medical insurance, there are many options ranging from about U$500 per year to almost US$3,000, but consider that there are many cases in which sports scholarships also cover this item within the offer.

State and/or federal fees are not always due, but they are expenses that can be around US$2,000 annually and even these are sometimes covered by some total sports scholarships.

By personal expenses we mean what is written above, i.e. the everyday life of a boy or a girl also from a social and personal point of view but, unlike what usually happens for university student-athletes in Italy, in America there is the possibility of covering these small expenses with jobs within the colleges and thus help the family economically as well as starting to create entries in the work section of one’s resume.
The last item of expense we have to deal with is that of the plane ticket: this is never included in any type of scholarship (with very rare exceptions) and therefore must be considered as a travel expense when evaluating colleges.

In the procedure to become a student-athlete in colleges there are also the costs of registering for tests, the sports league of reference, the translations of school documents and the administrative procedures and fees for obtaining a visa. If you want to know more about these rumors you can REGISTER for FREE and ask for the private link to the dedicated page.

In summary, a student-athlete who earns a full scholarship for sporting merit at a college can “earn” US$60,000 up to US$328,000 during the 4 years it takes to complete their first degree.

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