Does it Cost More to Attend a Small College?

Although many students may prefer a more personal learning environment, the cost to attend a small college can be a sticking point. The reality is there are plenty of factors that affect how much it costs to attend a small college. Below, some key factors in the cost of small colleges will be discussed as well as the answer to this question as a whole.

The Sticker Price

A first important point to consider is the fact that a sticker price on paper for smaller, independent colleges is, on average, higher than larger schools. However, this is not always the case, nor are the numbers always what they appear. Private schools of all sizes tend to be more expensive to attend than public schools because they do not receive as much governmental funding. There is also the factor of residency to consider; residents of a particular state are afforded a much lower tuition rate than out-of-state students at public colleges of all sizes. In many cases, a student who receives good financial aid at a smaller college can end up paying about the same, or even less, as it would cost to attend a larger school.

Individual Performance

Individual performance is another factor that will affect whether it will cost more to attend a small college. Students typically apply for financial aid, and students who have done better in school may be rewarded with valuable scholarships. Students are also awarded financial aid based on their need, which takes into account their personal finances as well as the financial situation of their parents. Other types of financial aid that can be awarded include student loans, work-study programs and grants, which also vary from student to student. Finally, students can bring in money from outside scholarships they apply for and are awarded, which further affects the ultimate cost of their education.

School Reputation

Schools with a more prestigious reputation typically cost more to attend than schools that do not have the same level of name recognition. Therefore, smaller colleges with more prestigious reputations will likely cost more to attend. Name recognition is a factor students will have to consider in their choice of college. It is true that a prestigious college name will open doors, especially when students begin looking for their first job or start applying for internships. However, it is equally as important to remember that school reputation is not always that important. Students can get quality education at schools that are less prestigious and, as the New York Times outlines, ultimately pay less in tuition.

Related Resource: 50 Most Innovative Small Colleges

Other Fees

It is also important to consider additional fees, such as cost of living, into the cost to attend a small college. Much of this depends on a student’s individual preference and situation. Some students may wish to rent a private apartment and live off-campus, while others will want room and board through their college. Students need to consider these costs and which campus lifestyle they would prefer in addition to the raw tuition cost. Smaller schools may not be especially inclined to allow students, especially new students, to live off-campus. The textbook cost will add up over time, even if it is a relatively small percentage of the overall cost of attending college.

It does not always cost more to attend a small college and there are many factors involved that create different tuition rates for individual students. All of these factors should be considered when determining how much it will cost to attend a small college.

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