The cost of college and how students can budget

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Published: Aug. 12, 2022 at 10:49 AM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - It’s not just parents that are feeling the pinch of back to school costs. The term “poor broke college student” has never been more applicable.

In its 2021 report, Trends in College Pricing & Student Aid, the College Board said a moderate college budget for an in-state student attending a four-year public college in 2021-22 averages a little over $27,000. For out-of-state students at public colleges, the average budget comes to roughly $44,000, and for students attending private colleges, the average budget is a whopping $55,000.

Let’s point out though that this is the cost of attendance, not just tuition. Food, housing, textbooks, and technology all fall into this category as well. Returning college students are noticing the rise of inflation has impacted all of these things.

“It seems like everything is more this year... tuition, textbooks, housing, food, all of it. Even the fee for my parking pass went up,” said student, Erika Goforth.

Now more than ever, college kids are looking for ways to save. The repeated advice we heard from everyone in and out of college was to learn how to make a budget.

“Another thing that’s helped me kind of get through the first two years of college so far is budgeting. Taking grasp of my finances and sitting down with bank statements and actually highlighting my expenses for the last month, just to see where I’m at and making sure my money is going to the right category has definitely helped me reduce debt and pay off tuition quicker,” said Ashley Aguilar, another student.

Obviously, budgeting is key, but what are some other things college kids can do to save some money?


  • Make sure you have a free checking account. Ask about fees or advantages for students before you open an account with a bank.
  • Get a job! I know, I know. It seems so obvious, but sometimes it has to be said. Make sure you don’t overload yourself to the point that you can’t focus on your studies, but finding a job is crucial to keeping some cash coming in. It doesn’t have to be anything major; even bagging groceries can help pay the bills.
  • Watch your student loan borrowing. It’s easy to fall into the trap of people giving you “free” money, but at some point, it has to be paid back. Don’t take out more loans than necessary. Live within your means.
  • Rent your textbooks, if possible. Sites like Chegg and Amazon, and even Barnes & Noble, offer rental options. Many bookstores on-campus will too. It’s a fraction of the cost, and you aren’t stuck with a book you’ll probably never use ever again.
  • Sell your books back. If you do get stuck with buying a book, sell it back and recoup your loss.
  • Get your tech for less. Companies like Microsoft, Apple, and Adobe usually offer student discounts. Shoot them a message and ask. The worst they can do is tell you no.
  • Print on-campus. Utilize the printers on-campus. Papers, recipes, whatever you have to print, print on-campus. Ink is ungodly expensive, so let the college foot the bill for you.
  • Find all of the events on-campus that offer freebies. Find events offering free food, free shirts, you name it. Especially the first month of each semester, you’ll find all kinds of things popping up that you can attend and score some free swag, plus maybe even make new friends!
  • Ask for student discounts wherever you go. Many restaurants and stores offer discounts to students.
  • Limit your trips to and from campus. You’ll save on gas, and you’ll be less tempted to buy things or eat out.

There are so many different things you can do to save some money during your college experience. Try some of these tips and see what works best for you.

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