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First Semester Bill

August 22nd, 2015 at 08:02 pm

My daughter and I talked today on the phone. She finally has internet access in her room, and wireless access all over campus. It was a hard week without it, but she made it. Class start Monday, so she is all set now. Smile

Since she could log in online she took a look at her billing statement. Tuition, fees, room and board for the first semester AFTER scholarships is $7,198.55. Scholarships amounted to $10,000. Room and board is the largest portion at $5,145.55. The tuition/fees for 18 hours came $2,044. Living ON campus is required for Freshman under the age of 19.

The bill hasn't actually been generated yet. The first bill is due September 12. I can pay in full with a debit card or check for no additional fees. If I use a credit card they add a 2.75% convenience charge. I can also make three payments, but need to sign up each semester for a $20 fee.

It's tempting to do payments, but I'm not sure it is absolutely necessary. I will be using her college funds to pay at least $5K. I would like to pay the remainder out of some of our savings and cash flow the remaining. It's the willingness to cash flow some of it that makes me interested in making payments.

I haven't thought it through much more than what I've written here. I will take a look at balances and see what I can do by September 12. I'm grateful for the scholarships and ability to pay this bill without student loans. So grateful!

Anyone else sending a child to college this semester? How much is your first semester bill?

32 Responses to “First Semester Bill ”

  1. scfr Says:

    DH was just talking about this to his friend whose daughter is a freshman. $12K just for room & board, and that only includes a $1K cafeteria credit. You know in 9 months she's going to go over $1K. Yowza.

  2. VS_ozgirl Says:

  3. Joe Says:

    It is very important to remember that you cannot claim any of the college tax credits, including the American Opportunity Tax Credit, based on expenses that were used to calculate the tax-free portion of a distribution from a 529 college savings or prepaid plan, or a Coverdell Education Savings Account (ESA). The AOTC may be claimed in the same year that a tax-free distribution is made as long as the same expenses are not used to calculate the tax-free distribution AND the American Opportunity Tax Credit.

    For example, if you take $5,000 out of a 529 college savings plan to pay for tuition you cannot use that $5,000 of tuition expenses to claim the American Opportunity Tax Credit also. This coordination of benefits provision is exactly why it helps to have a tax preparer who understands education funding so that you can make the most of the benefits that you qualify for.

  4. Another Reader Says:

    I just about choked when I did the math. $17k a semester to go to a state school??? That's $136k for a four year degree from a subsidized, public school! 40 years ago, the University of California charged $200 a quarter in registration fee and tuition.

    I don't see how parents do it, especially without scholarships. If I had a freshman today, s/he would go to the local community college and work, unless there was a full ride scholarship.

  5. Joe Says:

    My oldest daughter's first year of college - moved in Wednesday. First semester costs:
    Tuition - $4500 (after $15,250 scholarship)
    Room - $2400
    Board (285 meals) - $2750
    Total - $9,650

  6. ceejay74 Says:

    My husband recently paid about $50K for tuition at an in-state school -- no room or board in there -- and he already had a few credits from a few online classes he'd done, so it wasn't even a full BA's worth of classes! Part of me thinks this will keep getting worse, but part of me thinks we're reaching a breaking point, and that the govt. will finally do something about it. Difficult for U.S. to be competitive in education and careers with costs so insanely high.

  7. creditcardfree Says:

    Another Reader, she's at a state school, and that is tuition for non resident (16 hours). The $7K scholarship brings it in line with state tuition. It is a renewable scholarship for four years. Room and board is the same regardless.

  8. Another Reader Says:

    The government is a large part of the problem with grants and student loans. If you subsidize the consumption, the price rises. Merit based scholarships in desirable fields with solid employment prospects that result directly from the degree (e.g. STEM) make sense. Subsidizing basket weaving, not so much.

    Too many people are going to college these days. The college degree is so ubiquitous that receptionists are required to have them. And students need to be counseled on the likelihood of getting good paying jobs if they major in English or journalism. Starry eyed 17 year olds are not able to understand the consequences of taking loans. Up-front cost benefit analysis should determine who gets aid and who does not.

  9. creditcardfree Says:

    Thanks Joe for sharing your costs. It's interesting to see.

    We do plan to use some of her Coverdell ESA. I realize this does not allow for a credit. No biggy, the money was saved and then earned tax free just for this. I will claim anything above the amount we take out since that will be from savings or current cash. It cost far less to save the money then it does to take on a loan. The goal is to end up with the least amount in loans as possible. Smile

  10. Another Reader Says:

    CCF: So the cost for an in-state student living on campus for four years would be around $115k ($7.2k x 16)?

    Can your daughter qualify as in-state at some point and still get all or part of her scholarship?

  11. creditcardfree Says:

    My daughter is majoring in Art and Music...she does have talent in both areas. Talent that was rewarded in scholarships and lauded for her advanced abilities. Some parents (or readers here) might look down on those majors because they aren't 'worth' anything. True she may never make what an engineer makes, but would you ever have told well known artists and musicians not to do what they are good at and LOVE!? How many people can say they are doing what they love? I will support my daughter finding out now at a young age if she can make a living at her passions.

    Someday her work could grace your ears or eyes...finding yourself in awe of the beauty she created. I've seen what she can do and it is up there with the best of them.

  12. creditcardfree Says:

    Unfortunately, she won't ever qualify for instate tuition. I think many universities have cracked down on the ability to switch, or at least the ones I have looked at. Since we are military, having our daughter at a school near other stable family is important and one reason she is where she is at. If it costs us a little bit more we are okay with that.

  13. creditcardfree Says:

    Another Reader, it would be just under $75K for instate tuition, fees, room and board at this university. The tuition I referenced is for 16 credit hours this semester, so the amount is a little bit inflated. Estimates for an out state student without scholarships would be $128K according to the university website. The $75K is based on 15 credit hours a semester for four years.

  14. Another Reader Says:

    True talent in something is a different matter. The Julliards of the world have a place. It's no different than STEM talent. But average students with minimal talent that end up majoring in areas for which there is no demand need to be realistic. Taxpayers should not be footing the bill nor should kids be taking out large loans for that.

  15. creditcardfree Says:

    Agree AR! And we are doing our best to avoid large student loans. If there are loans I would guess they might be after four years...could take her five years to double major. Smile At some point though I expect she will want to live off campus...hoping it could be less expensive!

  16. Kiki Says:

    If she lives there for a year she is a resident of the state and should qualify as a resident. Why wouldnt she?

    In 1994 I tranferred to a california state u. The tuition and fees was $991/semester. Room and board for the semester were about 4k. My how costs have gone up!

  17. MonkeyMama Says:


    @Kiki - California State has only tripled its cost in the past 20 years. It's $3k per semester now. (Which is really in line with inflation; still extremely affordable).

  18. Mrs. Frugalista Says:

    We just paid $6,750.00 for my DS #2 Fall semester. That's just tuition; he commutes to school and lives at home. Both of my boys attended community college and both attended a state university to finish up their degree. We estimated that DS#1 college education cost us about $40K and when DS#2 completes his degree we estimate that his education will cost us about $47K. We have been able to cash flow their education but boy, I'll be happy in another year when my youngest finishes school. If they decide to attend graduate school, they have to be ready to foot the bill. By the way, can you believe that one of the courses my son is taking this semester requires the purchase or rental of seven books?! Good grief!

  19. creditcardfree Says:

    What class did your son need so many books for? My daughter is taking an English Honors class about creativity and needed four or five books. Luckily they were relatively inexpensive. In all, we paid $330 for books and music this semester. She did have a $250 scholarship for the book...nice help. She gets it each year she's in the Honors program.

  20. My English Castle Says:

    My view from my side of the podium: I agree that university is not for everyone, and I also agree that so many jobs these days require a degree. While it's important to limit spending and look for ways to trim costs, I've seen students jeopardize their grades and enrollments by working too much or not buying required books. And it is important to at least have a shot at what you long to do--and face the financial realities of those choices. I have had students sitting in my office crying their eyes out because their parents insisted on an accounting or engineering degree and they hate those classes. Some have agonized long and hard about dropping out, telling their parents, or terrible battles with depression.

    Believe me, that staggering tuition is NOT going to academic staff who teach most of the classes most places. The single biggest contributor to rapidly escalating tuition since the 1980s is the enormous cutbacks in aid to the universities from the government. And with a young teen, those tuition numbers make me very queasy.

  21. scottish girl Says:

    Glad your daughter finally has internet access.
    We are so lucky here in Scotland because we don't have to pay tuition fees. When I went to University back in 2002 I was entitled to the maximum amount of help in the form of a bursary because my mum had recently stopped working. I had the option of taking out a loan but I didn't. I stayed at home and travelled in so I didn't have to worry about rent etc. I remember spending a fortune on books.I was the only one out of my group of friends that didn't have any student loans. Two of the other girls that I was friends with that also still lived at home took out loans. However, they used them for their holidays (vacations), going out, helping towards getting a car. I always kind of thought that sometimes the Scottish students weren't taking it as seriously as the foreign students in our class - a girl from America, one from Norway and Russia. Maybe the fact that they were actually paying to be there? I don't know. It used to annoy me when I would leave really early to get there for a 9am class and some of the girls would come in, clearly not having been home yet, from the night before. Sorry I'm getting sidetracked.

  22. alice4now Says:

    I'm paying cash for my post grad certificate, and it has been painful. At least I know that this program is something that I am passionate about and that I can be highly compensated for this additional education, mandatory hours of experience and passing the board. I simply could not do this program without relative reassurance of compensation. Best of luck to your daughter in her studies, how exciting!

  23. NJDebbie Says:

    My English Castle, believe me I know that the money is not going to pay professor just like in the public school sector. Administrators are taking a big chunk of money in the process and the ones that should really be getting the higher salaries are not.

  24. creditcardfree Says:

    I too also know all that tuition doesn't go to professors. Universities do rely on non residents to help prop up their buildings and programs.

  25. jolie Says:

    DS's tuition, fees and dorm came to just under $13 000 before scholarship. The international fees and the mandatory health care plan were killers.

    He is living off campus this year so tuition is about the same if we take off the dorm fees. The Canada US dollar exchange this fall is horrid so that is making it even more expensive for us.

  26. creditcardfree Says:

    @jolie, was that for the semester or the full year? Sorry it is more expensive because of the exchange rate! Frown

  27. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    Would your daughter want to live with relatives after her freshman year? That might cut down on the cost a good bit (at least the room and board part.) When she's done with her textbooks, she might want to look into selling them on I did that with all the books I bought for my graduate program, and ended up only spending less than $50 for two years worth of books (after recouping costs through selling.)

  28. creditcardfree Says:

    She rented most of her books for this semester. The music she purchased she will likely keep to be building a library of music for future uses. The one book that can be sold will.

    I'm not really sure that she will live with relatives or not. She's really only close to one family that lives in town. They don't have an extra room. She doesn't drive (yet), so she either needs to figure the bus system Smile or learn to drive if she is off campus. She will eventually learn. I think L will be a great place to learn compared to areas we have been in recent years.

  29. jolie Says:

    CCF- it was just for the first semester.

  30. creditcardfree Says:

    I'll add that as far as room and board are concerned that we plan to use two years worth of Post 911 GI bill benefits my husband has earned for each of our daughters. This benefit pays tuition equal to instate cost AND a monthly amount towards room and board, which is just slightly more than our costs. We decided not to use this benefit this year since she had so many scholarships and we had the college savings to cover room and board.

  31. Livingalmostlarge Says:

    So crazy these numbers.

  32. creditcardfree Says:

    @LAL, remember there are always community colleges that cost less. Based on your ability to save LAL, I'm surprised that you aren't saving for college.

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