Breaking down the cost of going to college

When you decided to fill out a college application, you probably heard about how expensive going to college can be – but what does that mean? How does the cost break down, and what kinds of things do you need to spend money on to earn your degree?

There are five basic groups of expenses you'll have to deal with when you're going to college. These are tuition and fees, materials and supplies, transportation costs, living expenses and room and board. The cost of your tuition is going to be the most substantial expense, but it's also the one area where there may be the most assistance. Financial aid, scholarships and grants can all go a long way towards reducing the cost of your tuition.

The price of your room and board can be trimmed down if you're willing to share a dorm or live in a smaller room. Alternatively, you could choose a school closer to home and commute, although this could increase your transportation expenses.

If you drive your own car, the cost of insurance, gas and general maintenance can be costly. Consider taking the bus or buying a bicycle – not only are they cheap, they're also great exercise and better for the environment. 

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