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What Does it Really Cost to Attend Colby College?


Long term planning and budgeting for college is no small feat for many families. As college costs rise, so too do the number of families who apply for financial aid. In fact, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, 85% of college students were receiving financial aid by the year 2016.


For many of these families, anticipating the cost of college is part of the struggle. Few colleges advertise the same sticker price, and few families actually end up paying the entire sticker price. It’s hard to budget when you don’t know exactly what number you’re aiming for, but luckily there are ways to narrow in on your projected college costs.  Recently, CollegeVine analyzed the costs of attending over 1,000 schools. In this post, we discuss just how much you might expect to pay to attend Colby College.


Why Are College Costs So Variable?


College costs are hard to predict due to their broad variability from one family to another. There are many factors that influence college costs and cause variation from one student to another. Everything from family income to student accomplishment to state of residence and college choice can run costs up or down.


One of the most significant driving factors behind college cost is a college’s list price. This is sometimes known as the sticker price and is generally the total amount that it costs per year to attend that college, including tuition, room and board, and any necessary fees. At some schools, especially those with a high percentage of commuter students, certain fees like room and board may not automatically be included, so be sure to confirm exactly what’s included when you compare sticker prices.


Few students end up paying the entire list price at most colleges. Instead, most are the recipients of some kind of aid such as federal, state, or local government aid, institutional financial aid, or merit aid. These factors all affect how much each family ends up paying for a college education, and because they vary so much from one family to the next, there is no simple formula to predict exactly what a family’s out of pocket expenses will be. The average net cost at a college is the average amount that families pay to attend after receiving aid, and this is often a more helpful data point for families trying to predict college costs.


What is the List Price at Colby College?


The list price at Colby College in 2017 was $65,824. Colby is a private college, so students pay the same amount whether they are in-state or out-of-state students, but few students actually pay the entire list price. Students who can expect to pay the entire list price include those whose families have an annual combined income of $175k or more.


What Is the Average Net Cost of Attending Colby?


The average net cost of attending Colby College in 2016-2017 was $55,018 for students who qualified for financial aid. For students who did not qualify for financial aid, the average net cost remained the sticker price of $65,824.


What is the Cost Based on Income of Attending Colby College?


Net costs vary depending on how much aid a family receives. This is impacted most profoundly by the amount a family earns, so breaking down net cost by family income can lend even more insight into college expenses.


The net cost based on family income at Colby College is as follows:


Family Income Average Net Price
$0-$30,000 $6,481
$30,001-$48,000 $15,007
$48,001-$75,000 $17,088
$75,001-$110,000 $24,111
$110,000+ $37,890


How Much Merit Aid is Awarded at Colby College?


Colby is a highly selective school with an exceptionally talented student body. As is typical of schools of this caliber, it does not award merit aid. In 2016, 0% of students at Colby received merit aid.


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How Many Students Take Out Loans to Attend Colby?


While it’s not uncommon for Colby students to take out loans, it’s also not something that the majority need to do. In 2016, 25% of Colby students had federal loans, and the average federal loan amount per undergraduate student was $2,538.


Student Outcomes at Colby 


When considering the costs of college, it’s important to think about the long term impact of having a college degree. Because people with a college degree generally have a significantly higher earning potential than those without, it’s fair to think of college expenses as an investment in the future.


Looking at average student outcomes from Colby students can help to predict your return on investment over time. At Colby, 89% of students who begin a degree program graduate within six years, and the average ten year salary after graduation is $58,100.


Local Area Cost Considerations


Many families spend a lot of time planning for the costs of tuition, fees, and room and board, but fewer anticipate incidentals that might arise during a four year degree program. Students will need to spend money on transportation, snacks, and even off-campus housing should they choose to live elsewhere. In addition, they might seek a local job to help offset costs. Local area cost considerations can really add up over the course of four years.


Colby College is located in Waterville, ME. Waterville has a cost of living index of 83, meaning it is about 17% less expensive than the national average. Transportation costs and housing are particularly affordable there, while utilities and groceries are slightly above average. A student planning to live off campus would pay about $684/month for a studio apartment or $1104/month for a three-bedroom.


The job market in Waterville, ME is about average. Unemployment rates and job growth are roughly in line with national averages. Minimum wage in Maine is $11/hr, placing it comfortably above the federal minimum of $7.25/hr. The median hourly wage in the state of Maine is $17.41.


Other Ways to Pay for College  


Federal loans and grants are often the most significant sources of college funding aid, but they are not the only resources available. Students should also consider the many scholarships options that exist.


One of the largest scholarship programs in the country is the National Merit Scholarship Program. Students who participate in this program must be high school juniors who take the PSAT. The PSAT, sometimes also known as the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, is then used to screen qualified students based on their scores. Those who perform in roughly the top percent are eligible for recognition. Other students might also earn awards through the National Hispanic Recognition Program or specific scholarships sponsored by corporations or individual colleges. To learn more about this option, check out our post How to Qualify for the National Merit Scholarship Program.


Many other scholarship programs exist also, in just about all shapes and sizes. Some scholarships are large awards that pull in a pool of applicants from across the country; others are smaller or more specialized, attracting local students or those who fit a specific niche based on background or skills. To learn more about some scholarship options that might be a great fit for your family, don’t miss these posts:


Curious about your chances of acceptance to your dream school? Our free chancing engine takes into account your GPA, test scores, extracurriculars, and other data to predict your odds of acceptance at over 500 colleges across the U.S. We’ll also let you know how you stack up against other applicants and how you can improve your profile. Sign up for your free CollegeVine account today to get started!

Kate Sundquist
Senior Blogger

Short Bio
Kate Koch-Sundquist is a graduate of Pomona College where she studied sociology, psychology, and writing before going on to receive an M.Ed. from Lesley University. After a few forays into living abroad and afloat (sometimes at the same time), she now makes her home north of Boston where she works as a content writer and, with her husband, raises two young sons who both inspire her and challenge her on a daily basis.