Costs Of Education In America

Costs Of Education In America
In America’s public school system, the education is essentially paid for entirely by the taxpayers and the government. Students enrolled in a public school do not have to pay for anything related to their basic education needs, even if they are special needs students with learning disabilities. In some public schools, extra classes are offered for advanced studies that may carry a small fee.

Textbooks are provided free by the public schools, though many are starting to switch to classrooms without texts. School lunches are not free, but are relatively cheap as the state helps subsidise some of the cost. Extracurricular activities like joining a sports team or club are usually free as well, though some costs may be involved for materials or travel expenses.

Private schools are another matter, and can often be as expensive as university tuition. Known as prep schools, these elite academies are often boarding schools as well where students live on campus. With more than 28,000 private schools in the US alone, the costs of attending these schools ranges widely but on average a parent can expect to pay at least US$4,000 per year in tuition. Then there are plenty of extra fees for books, meals and special activities and excursions. The top private schools in the US can cost upwards of US$40,000 per year.

At the university level, the costs of attending school start at around US$7,000 per year and can reach as high as US$50,000 for elite colleges like Sarah Lawrence. Most students attend public four-year universities, which base their tuition on whether the student is a resident of that state. The average in-state resident tuition in 2009 was US$7,020 and out-of-state students typically pay about 50 per cent more per year in tuition. In order to be classified as an in-state student you must live permanently in that state for at least one year prior to the start of classes.

Tuition simply covers the cost of attending classes and other administrative fees associated with the college. When you add living expenses to the mix, the yearly total for a student at a four-year public university averages nearly US$28,000 according to US government reports in 2010.

Private universities like Harvard and Yale are nearly double that, costing an average of US$40,000 per year in total for tuition and living expenses. Around 70 per cent of college students cannot afford to pay for their schooling and rely on government student loans and grants to help them out.