How Much Does it Cost to Attend Vassar College?
Having to save for a college education is a reality for many families, and it’s no simple task. College costs across the country continue to rise at a rate much higher than inflation. In fact, CNN reported in 2016, that the average family could expect to pay $56,840 for a four-year degree from a public institution or $104,400 for a four-year degree from a private university. It’s no wonder that record numbers of families are applying for and receiving financial aid to help foot the bill.
The challenge of budgeting for a college education is made even more difficult by the wide range of variability in college costs. It’s hard to predict exactly how much your family will pay out of pocket for your student to attend college, but without a fairly accurate estimate, it’s even harder to budget for those costs. In this series of posts, we analyze the costs of attending over 1000 schools to help families more accurately predict just what they’ll spend. In this post, we look at the costs of attending Vassar College.
Why Do College Costs Vary So Much?
The wide variability of college expenses is due the the vast number of factors that impact them. Everything from the specific school your student hopes to attend to how much your family makes and what your student’s accomplishments are can affect how much money comes out of your pocket. Though these costs are definitely difficult to predict, understanding the factors that contribute to them can help refine your estimate.
The biggest factor in how much you pay for college is often what college your student attends. List prices, sometimes also known as sticker prices, vary widely from one school to the next. A list price is basically the total cost of attendance without financial aid, scholarships, or other grants. It usually includes tuition, room and board, and any other necessary fees. Sometimes a sticker price will not include expenses that many students opt out of, such as room and board at a commuter school, so be sure to confirm exactly what’s included when you compare these list prices from one school to another.
While list price can give you a good starting point, it’s not a very accurate predictor of how much you’ll actually pay for your student to attend, since few students pay the entire list price. Average net cost can add more insight. Net cost is the amount that a family pays after applying financial aid, scholarships, and any other assistance. It varies based on how much a student receives from multiple sources, including federal, state and local aid, institutional aid, and merit scholarships. While average net cost is still only a small glimpse of how much families pay to attend college, for many families it provides a clearer picture of potential college expenses.
What is the List Price at Vassar College?
In 2016-2017, the list price at Vassar College was $67,740. Vassar is a private college, meaning that there is no discount for being an in-state student. Everyone at Vassar has the same list price regardless of where they live.
That being said, few students actually pay the list price. Usually, the students who do pay list price are those from families with a combined annual income of $175k or more.
What is the Net Cost of Attending Vassar?
For families who receive financial aid, the average net cost to attend Vassar is $56,060. Again, this is the same no matter where a student’s state of residence is.
For students who do not qualify for financial aid, the net cost of attending Vassar remains the list price of $67,740.
What is the Cost Based on Income of Attending Vassar?
The amount of financial aid a family receives is typically dependent on their income. That means that rather than looking at overall average net costs, you can more accurately predict your costs by looking at a breakdown of net costs based on income.
The breakdown of net cost at Vassar College by family income is as follows:
|Family Income||Average Net Price|
How Much Merit Aid is Awarded at Vassar?
Vassar is already a selective school to get into. This means that its student body is overall exceptional and that everyone who attends is talented in one way or another. Consequently, Vassar does not award merit aid, as is the case at most selective schools.
How Many Students Take Out Loans to Attend Vassar?
Taking out loans to help pay for a Vassar education is not an unusual move amongst students there. In 2017, 52% of students at Vassar had taken out loans. The average federal student loan per undergrad student was $3,179.
College is a big expense, but thinking of it as an investment in future earning potential can help to justify it. One way to gauge the return you may expect on your investment is to look at student outcomes.
At Vassar College, 90% of students who begin a degree program complete it within six years, and the average salary ten years after graduation is $54,600.
Local Area Cost Considerations
Costs of living over the course of a four-year degree will inevitably add up over time, even for students who live on campus. Local area cost of living is also something to plan for.
Vassar College is located in Poughkeepsie, NY roughly halfway between Albany and New York City. In Poughkeepsie, the cost of living is about in line with the national average. Housing, utility, and transportation costs are all slightly elevated in Poughkeepsie, but grocery costs are generally slightly below normal. The average rent in Poughkeepsie is about $1500/month for a one-bedroom apartment.
The job market in Poughkeepsie, NY is not especially good. The unemployment rate of 9% is well above the national average and poverty levels are high. The minimum wage in New York is currently $11.10 and it is set to increase to $15/hr in coming years. The median hourly wage in NY is over $21/hr.
Other Ways to Pay for College
Another significant source of college funding can be merit scholarships, but given that Vassar doesn’t offer merit aid, these are opportunities that families usually need to pursue independently. Knowing where to look for these scholarships isn’t always easy, though.
The National Merit Scholarship Program is one of the largest scholarship programs in the country. Every high school junior who takes the PSAT is eligible to qualify for awards through this program based on PSAT scores. Other students also qualify for awards under this umbrella through the National Hispanic Recognition Program or other specific corporations and individual colleges. You can find more information about the program in our post How to Qualify for the National Merit Scholarship Program.
There are many more scholarship options available, too. Some scholarship programs draw from a national pool of applicants while others are smaller and more localized or specialized. You can learn more about some of the scholarship opportunities that might fit your student in these posts:
- 15 College Scholarships for High School Juniors
- 15 College Scholarship Resources for High School Students
- A Guide to STEM Scholarships
- Scholarships and Competitions for students in the Performing Arts
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