College tuition

President Obama Proposes Free Community College


Free Community College

President Obama announced his proposal for community college to be free for two years for responsible students. “Higher education should not be a Democratic or Republican issue. It’s an American issue,” Obama said. If the plan becomes fully implemented in the future, full-time community college students would save an average of $3,800 per year. Students would be eligible for free tuition if they attend the community college at least half-time, maintain a 2.5 GPA, and make progress toward their degree, according to White House officials. Obama’s proposal could benefit up about 9 million students across the nation, each year. The federal government would cover three-quarters of the average cost of community college and participating states would be expected to contribute the rest. “Students who started at community college during those two years and then go on to a four year institution, they essentially get half of their bachelors degree free,” Obama said, “It can be a game changer.” The White House stated that this plan would cost $60 billion over a span of 10 years. President Obama pitched his plan during his speech at Pellissippi State Community College in Knoxville, Tenn.

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How Much Money Do I Need to Start the Semester?


cost of college
You did it. You received that highly anticipated bigger rather than smaller envelope in the mail stating you have been accepted into a college. You’re ecstatic. Then another piece of mail comes and it’s your tuition bill. That’s when it hits you. College is expensive, but just how expensive is it and what will you need to fork over for your first semester?

Your first order of business should be calculating your tuition costs, which vary greatly from state to state and are a huge factor in determining how much student loans you may need. According to the College Board’s 2012-2013 Trends in College Pricing survey, the average cost for tuition and fees for in-state students at public four-year institutions was $4,327 a semester, while the average at private nonprofit four-year institutions was $14,528 a semester.

Room and Board
The average cost for on-campus living for undergraduate students attending public four-year institutions is $4,602 a semester, and $5, 231 a semester if you attend a private nonprofit four-year school. If you live off campus without roommates, your living expenses can double.

Renting textbooks is becoming increasingly popular among college students. Your total book costs depend on your major and other factors, but on average, if you rent your books, you could spend $300 a semester, which is significantly less than if you were to buy your textbooks.

And when you rent your textbooks from, you may save even more money. Not only can you spend less on your books, but you can receive cash back when you sell your books to, so other students just like you can buy them at a lower price. It’s fast, easy and saves you money!

Depending on whether you own a car, use public transportation, live on- or off-campus and how far you travel, your average semester cost for transportation is about $700 and parking may cost $70 a semester.

Social Life and Miscellaneous Expenses
Depending on how much you spend on eating out, you could spend  $1,000 a semester just to keep your social life intact.

Financial Aid
After you calculate all your expenses, consider how much financial aid you might receive. According to College Board, in 2012-2013, undergraduate students attending public four-year institutions received an average of $2,875 a semester in grants and federal aid, while students attending private nonprofit four-year institutions received $7,840 a semester.

Estimated Cost for Your First Semester of College (with financial aid):

  • $8,124 for public four-year institutions
  • $13,989 for private nonprofit four-year institutions

Estimated Cost for Your First Semester of College (without financial aid):

  • $10,999 for public four-year institutions
  • $21,829 for private nonprofit four-year institutions

Keep in mind, there are many factors that determine your actual cost of attendance. For a more exact cost, you may want to contact your college’s financial aid department.

Kaitlyn Fusco is a content writer for She combines her interests in writing and overcoming debt to inform the public about issues related to credit, debt and personal finance.