Determine Your Bottom Line?

You know the cost of tuition. But what is college really going to cost you? Here are some tools to help you determine your bottom line.

Award Letter
Once you’ve been admitted to college and you’ve applied for financial aid, you will receive an Award Letter from the college. The Award Letter will list all the financial support the school is able to provide.

See a Sample Award Letter.

Textbooks
One expense that sometimes sneaks up on students is the cost of books. College books can be really pricey, sometimes topping $500 per semester. Luckily, you do have some options for reducing your book expenses:

1. When possible, buy books through online discount sites. There are lots of them. Some work as auction sites (kind of like eBay). Others do direct sales. Others are trade sites. You can get books for half the cost at times, but buyer beware.

  • Professors often require specific editions, so make sure you are buying the right book. Use the ISBN number if you have it.
  • Also, you need to order books early, as they often take a while to ship. You don’t want to miss the first few assignments, because you don’t have a book.

2. Take advantage of e-books if you can. Sometimes professors only require you to read one or two chapters of a book. If the book is available as an e-book, you may be able to purchase only the chapter you need for much less than the entire book.

3. Take care of your books and sell them back to the bookstore. You won’t recoup all your cost, but you’ll make back a little.

4. Take advantage of textbook exchanges through the college.

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