Fairview High School > Paying for College START HERE

Fairview High School

Paying for College START HERE

Paying for college can be overwhelming! This section will help you calculate the cost of college and guide you through the many options in paying for college.


WHAT DOES COLLEGE COST? (Click to see more or less.)


    The costs of attending college can vary widely, depending on whether the school is a community college, a state university, or a private college or university. Are you in-state or out of state? Will you graduate in 4 years? And it’s more than just tuition, room & board. In general, the total cost of attending college includes:

    • Tuition & fees
    • Books & supplies
    • Room & board (consider area's cost of living)
    • Transportation
    • Health insurance
    • Personal expenses
    • Number of years attending (read about Graduation Rates)
    However, the “sticker price” of a particular school is only the beginning. Depending on the school, your family’s financial situation, your academics, your financial and/or merit aid, the cost may be reduced significantly.

    Personal expenses include the cost of joining a sorority or fraternity. A 2018 article from Investopedia, "How much does it really cost to go Greek," has a good discussion.


    Here is the calculation used by all U.S. colleges & universities:

    COA - EFC = DN
    Cost of Attendance minus Expected Family Contribution equals Demonstrated Need

    • Cost of Attendance (COA)
      All colleges are required to calculate their estimated cost of attendance & have the information readily available. You can generally find it on a school’s Financial Aid page, or on sites such as Naviance, Big Future, or College Data.

    • Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
      Expected Family Contribution is an amount officially determined by filling out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and possibly the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE (depending on the school’s requirements). However, there are calculators that will closely estimate your EFC, such as this one. See Fairview's FAFSA and CSS PROFILE page for more information.

    • Demonstrated Need (DN)
      Often times, Demonstrated Need will be met in a Financial Aid package from the college, which may include:
      • Scholarships and Grants
        need or merit-based awards from federal, state, school or other sources that do not need to be paid back
      • Work-Study
        paying jobs provided by school
      • Loans
        federally backed student loans
      Unfortunately, not all schools are able to meet 100% of a student's Demonstrated Need. This may be an important factor when choosing which schools to apply to. You can learn whether a certain school will meet a student's Demonstrated Need by looking at its profile on sites such as Big Future, or College Data.


(Click on each to learn more)
FAFSA and CSS The FAFSA form (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is used to determine your eligibility to receive need-based funds from the US Department of Education's Federal Student Aid Program. The CSS Profile is a financial aid profile produced by the College Board (the SAT people) and only required by certain private universities.
College Opportunity Fund (COF) COF is a fund created by the Colorado Legislature to provide a way of distributing Colorado tax dollars to the colleges in Colorado. Each resident undergraduate student who attends a participating Colorado college or university pays a reduced tuition price.
Scholarships and Grants Many different types of scholarships exist (college based scholarships, private scholarships, merit based scholarships, etc.). Federal, State, and College-based grants are determined by each college’s financial aid office.
Savings Options Information on 529 College Savings Plans, Education Bond Program, UTMA, Coverdell Education Savings Account, and Roth Individual Retirement Account can be found here.
Students Loans Information on Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans, Federal Parent PLUS Loans, and Private Loans can be found here.
Work Study and Other Employment Opportunities Federal Work-Study provides part-time employment on campus to students receiving federally funded financial aid. This is a great way to help pay for your education if you qualify.
(Click on each to learn more)
Tax Savings Learn how tax savings, tax credits, and student loan interest deductions can reduce college costs.
Claiming IB and AP credits Using scores from AP and IB tests to fulfill core class requirements instead of taking the class and thus reducing the number of courses that need to be taken to earn a degree.
In-State Honors Programs Public universities, in-state and out-of-state, offer rigorous curriculum and research in their honors programs that provide students with the level of academic experience comparable to attending a highly selective private college.
Co-op Programs Some colleges offer paid employment in a student’s area of study while completing their undergraduate degree.
ROTC In the Reserve Officer Training Corps students can earn all or part of their undergraduate tuition by taking military courses during college and serving in the military after graduation.
Tuition Free Colleges Yes, they really do exist!
Starting at a Community College Taking core classes for two years at a lower cost at a two-year college and then transferring credits to a four-year college/university to complete your major.
Western University Exchange (WUE) Learn about reduced tuition with some colleges in 14 western states.
Gain Residence Status Establish residency in the location of your college/university for a certain number of years (along with other factors), to potentially qualifying for in-state tuition.