The never ending costs of college


Marissa Werner

Applying to college is just the beginning of the costs that will come.

Tis the season for college applications, but applying to college may max out your season spendings before they even begin. The 2017-2018 average cost of instate tuition is between $25,290-50,900, varying between public and private schools. But before even deciding where to spend the next four years, money is already flying out of your pocket.

967 colleges reported their fall application fee for in 2016, with an average cost of $43 and the most common one being $50. In the nation, 50 schools had a fee of $75 or higher per application including many Ivy League schools. Stanford was at the top with a cost of $90. All 50 schools offer a fee waiver for students with financial need, but only a little above 10% of students qualify.

The application fee is used for a profit for the school, but also to turn away students who are not fully interested in that school. Everyone would apply to Ivy League schools just for fun to see if they would get in but have no intent on going there. The fee cuts the number of applicants dramatically to ensure admissions will only read applications of future students. Last year Harvard University received 35,000 applications for 75$ each, earning a profit of over 2 million dollars. They accept an average of 5,000 students per year, without handing any of the money back over.

Before you even begin the application process your bank already has a dent in it between preparing for standardized tests, taking and sending them, visiting schools, sending transcripts, etc. Tutoring for the ACT and SAT can be averaged to about $125 per session, ranging from 3,000-4,500 in total. Once you are finally prepared to take them, take out your card again because the SAT costs $52 and the ACT costs $35. If you want to write the essay too, be prepared for even higher amount. Late to register? You’re slammed with another $20+ dollars.

Now that you have your scores and are ready to apply, you’ll lose around hundred dollars sending those hard earned scores to your schools. The SAT allows you to send all your scores with one payment of $12 per school. Unfortunately the ACT makes you send each test individually and charges you $11 per school, per test.

But where are you sending the scores? The colleges that you went to visit, some far distances some close. Between lodging, travel, food, etc, the average cost to visit sets you back another $3,000+.

Seniors, we think we are done paying universities who might send us back a single letter of rejection but there’s still more money to spend. Transcripts! Around $2 a school seems like you are just throwing your money around. But after adding up all the schools you are applying to, you could’ve bought new shoes with that money. Many students apply to 5-12 schools for a hopeful letter of acceptance by May, but this is only the beginning of the dent you will see in your wallet.


School name (state) Application fee
Stanford University (CA) $90
Columbia University (NY) $85
Duke University (NC) $85
North Carolina State University—Raleigh $85
Boston University $80
Brandeis University (MA) $80
Cornell University (NY) $80
Dartmouth College (NH) $80
University of Connecticut $80
University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill $80
University of Southern California $80
Villanova University (PA) $80
Yale University (CT) $80
Barnard College (NY) $75
Boston College $75
Brown University (RI) $75
California Institute of Technology $75
Carnegie Mellon University (PA) $75
College of New Jersey $75
Cooper Union (NY) $75
Emory University (GA) $75
George Washington University (DC) $75
Georgetown University (DC) $75
Georgia Institute of Technology $75
Harvard University (MA) $75
Kean University (NJ) $75
Massachusetts Institute of Technology $75
New Jersey Institute of Technology $75
Northeastern University (MA) $75
Northwestern University (IL) $75
Rice University (TX) $75
Syracuse University $75
Texas A&M University—College Station $75
Texas State University $75
Texas Tech University $75
Tufts University (MA) $75
University of Chicago $75
University of Delaware $75
University of Houston $75
University of Maryland—College Park $75
University of Massachusetts—Amherst $75
University of Michigan—Ann Arbor $75
University of North Carolina—Asheville $75
University of North Carolina—Wilmington $75
University of North Texas $75
University of Notre Dame (IN) $75
University of Pennsylvania $75
University of Texas—Austin $75
Washington University in St. Louis $75
Woodbury University (CA) $75