# HOW TO REDUCE YOUR COLLEGE COSTS

California State University, Northridge (CSUN) is aware of the hardship you and other students suffer due to dramatic fee increases. CSUN is trying to control the indirect costs of college by:

•         Reducing the cost of supplies such as using standardized and recycled clickers
•         Reducing the cost of books by implementing a  textbook rental policy with the Associated Students bookstore
•         Developing “e” materials, where appropriate, as substitutes for texts
•         Initiating block scheduling so that, as an example, upper-division majors can get two-day-a-week schedules; save commuting costs; and free up time for paying jobs. This could result in hundreds of dollars of saved.

Table 1 below shows that the indirect cost of education (see the black) exceeds the direct cost (see the red) of CSUN in 2009-2010:

Table 1

Costs

Living with Family

Apartment or Dorm

Fees

4,801

4,801

Books and Supplies

1,638

1,638

Food and Housing

4,338

10,872

Transportation

1,272

1,210

Misc, Personal

3,114

2,928

TOTAL

\$15,163

\$21,449

Q1. What percent do fees comprise of the total cost of going to university, if the student lives in a dorm or apartment (not with family)?

Let’s project into the future.  Based on 2009-2010 fees,  Table 2 below shows what it would cost to graduate in 4, 5, 6,  or 7 years, factoring in inflation of fees and books and supplies at 8% per year while  the other costs rise 5% per year.

Table 2

Fees , books, supplies

(dollars)

Food, housing, transportation, misc

(dollars)

Cost

(dollars)

4

29,015

37,602

66,617

5

37,775

48,206

85,981

6

47,236

59,340

106,576

7

57,454

71,031

128,484

Q2: Complete Table 3 below using information from Table 2.  Because students pay by the semester, not by the course, and because fees are going up, not down, each course effectively costs—uh, a lot more the longer you stay. Assume a total of 120 units are needed to graduate.

Table 3

Cost unit of  credit (dollars)

Cost per unit credit (dollars)

4

66,617/120  =

5

85,981/120  =

6

106,576/120 =

7

128,484/120 =

## BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

CSUN students understand that fees are paid by the semester, not by the units of credit. Taking more than four years to graduate is very costly. While it is true that students may have jobs and family commitments that limit the time for school, the cost of prolonging attendance is very high.

Did you know: nationally, college graduates have been shown to earn

about \$1.7 million more, over a lifetime, than high school graduates?

"The Jobless Rate for People Like You" is an interactive graph from The New York Times  (6 Nov. 2009) showing how the current U.S. unemployment rates affect people based on their gender, age, race, and/or educational attainment.

### a) What is the current unemployment rate for Women (ages 15 to 24) of All Races with a High School Diploma?

b) What is the current unemployment rate for Women (ages 15 to 24) of All Races with a College Degree?

c) Locate the data that pertains to your age, race, etc.  Compare this unemployment rate to someone with the same data who has a college degree.

d) Find the unemployment rate for a few other groups and compare the results.  Write a short response about your findings.

Table 4

Graduation Rates for First Time Freshmen

 Entering Total Cohort Count 4 years or 5 years or 6 years or 7 years or 8 years or 9 years or 10 years or 12 years or Fall Cohort less less less less less less less less 11 years or less 1997 2568 3% 18% 32% 38% 42% 44% 46% 46% 47% 1998 2286 6% 23% 36% 43% 46% 48% 49% 50% 1999 2602 7% 24% 36% 43% 47% 49% 50% 2000 2821 8% 25% 39% 46% 49% 52% 2001 3270 8% 26% 39% 46% 49% 2002 3662 8% 26% 39% 46% 2003 3595 10% 30% 43% 2004 2975 12% 33% 2005 3713 11% 2006 3690 Average 3118 8% 26% 38% 44% 47% 48% 48% 48% 47%

Q4.  Explain what Table 4 shows  _________________________________________

Q5.  On average, what percentage of students graduate in 5 years or less?

Q6.  On average, what percentage of students graduate in 7 years or less?

Here’s the row showing graduation rates for the F2000 entering cohort:

Entering
Fall
Cohort

Total
Cohort
Count

4 years or less

5 years or less

6 years or less
Count    Rate

7 years or less

8 years or less

9 years or less

2000

2821

8%

25%

39%

46%

49%

52%

Here’s what happens when we turn this chart into a graph:

Q7.  The graph is strictly increasing – that is, the percentage of students that graduated goes up as time goes on. Why? Where does the curve seem to level off?  Explain why that makes sense.

A cost versus benefit analysis of time to degree can help you reduce your costs and complete your degree in a timely manner.

Time is money. A ten-year student loan of \$10,000 at 4.5% (for subsidized loans) or 6.8% (for unsubsidized loans) generally will cost around \$5,500  (ie Total paid = \$10,000 *1.045^10 or about  \$15, 530; therefore the interest paid is \$15530 - \$10,000 = \$5530 ). That is less than a year of fees and books: See Table 1.

Idea: Could you use the \$10,000 to buy down or buy out time that is committed to non-academic matters? That is: is it better for you to borrow the money now in order to take more credits now instead of taking fewer credits and delaying graduation? If you apply the time and money to taking more credits now, the long-term savings can be significant.

Good Advice: Have a plan. Students who switch schools, change majors too late or too often, or add second degrees usually take years longer to graduate or wind up with excess credits by the time they reach their senior year.

To decrease your time to graduation look at

http://www.csun.edu/anr/plans/

Q8.  Estimate: how much more does it cost to graduate with 144 units rather than the minimum 120 units if you are taking 12 units per semester?

\$        Summer courses are expensive at \$345 per credit unit.

Financial aid is only available to students with less than 130 units. (Any additional borrowing will have to come from other sources.)

\$        CSUN has strict disqualification, course repeat, and withdrawal policies. It is very difficult for students to repeat failed classes.  Expect substantial increases in cost and time to degree if you  fail or withdraw from courses.

\$        CSUN also has strict satisfactory academic progress policies for Financial Aid. It is not  available to students who do not make satisfactory progress (which basically means that your GPA should stay above a C or 2.0  average.) For more information on satisfactory academic progress, see  http://www.csun.edu/finaid/sap-policy10-11.html

\$        Super Senior Initiatives: Enrollment beyond 140 units will be restricted to courses required to graduate in the major for

which the student has accomplished the highest percentage of requirements.

### REALLY, DO THE MATH!

Aim to graduate in 5 years (or less)!