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Paying for College

Real Cost of College

Types of Postsecondary Schools

Many people think college is much more expensive than it is.

Here are the average in-state costs per year for four types of colleges in Kentucky (some costs were estimated because the schools did not provide exact figures):

  • Public universities: $19,635.
  • Private nonprofit colleges and universities: $32,416.
  • Public community and technical colleges: $14,185.
  • Private for-profit colleges and universities: $26,908.

But paying for college is a lot like buying a car. The sticker price isn’t always what you end up paying. Most students receive scholarships and grants to help them pay for college, so the net price is often much less than the sticker price.

Let’s say that the college you’re interested in costs $25,000 per year. You qualify for a $4,000 Federal Pell Grant and $4,000 in state grants, and you have $3,500 in scholarships. Your total aid in grants and scholarships is $11,500, so your net price is $13,500. That’s how much you and your family will have to come up with.

All colleges that participate in federal financial aid programs must have what is called a net price calculator (NPC) on their website. The NPC will give you an idea of your out-of-pocket costs for that school. Links to Kentucky schools’ NPCs are below.

If you and your family can afford to pay the net price, accept the school’s financial aid offer and get ready to move into the dorm. If not, you can find a quality education at a less expensive college.