How much will you pay? Navigating the true cost of higher education – The Hill

by | Jun 26, 2022 | Education

High school and college graduation ceremonies across the country have wrapped up, and a new generation of students is preparing to begin their higher education. Or perhaps not. A recent report from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center shows 662,000 fewer students enrolled in undergraduate programs in spring 2022 than a year earlier, a decline of 4.7 percent.

Many of these enrollment shifts demonstrate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on students who likely chose to delay enrollment. Cost also is often a large contributing factor. Just getting into college can be expensive, and unexpected costs can create a barrier. For students pursuing a four-year degree, many schools charge application fees to even determine admission. 

According to a recent study by U.S. News & World Report, the average cost to submit a college admissions application is $50. Some schools charge more than $75 per application. If a student applies to five to seven schools, as recommended by the College Board, that can quickly add up to over $250. Admissions application costs do not include the cost of taking the SAT exam ($60) or ACT exam ($63 without the writing portion; $88 with a writing portion). And these exams often carry additional fees, such as change of date and/or cancellation fees. Additionally, some colleges require an enrollment deposit that comes due after admission. Waivers of fees are sometimes available, either through high schools or college admissions offices, but this option may not be advertised to prospective students.  

Higher education administrators can be proactive by sharing information about fee waivers on school websites and social media p …

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