How the College Life Gives Students an Unreal Sense of Living Expenses
Think back to your carefree days of life as a college student. Loans and grants may have financed your education so you could concentrate on studying. You didn’t have to worry about living expenses. All you had to do was go to class and get decent grades.
University students today have similar experiences. Many students live off campus in luxury apartments, unwilling to delay gratification in the pursuit of maintaining a lifestyle similar to what their parents enjoy. Co-eds share expenses with roommates, and they enjoy deeply discounted amenities during their time in college.
College life gives students an unreal sense of living expenses.
What college costs
Average college costs are $24,610 per year at a moderate four-year public university and $49,320 per year at a private school. Those estimates include tuition, books, fees, room, and board. Students still must factor in the cost of purchasing personal items, having a social life, and maintaining a personal vehicle. These expenses can cost an additional $250-$500/month.
University students are spending an average of $41,165 per year of study.
What students do not realize is that this standard of living is subsidized – by the government, the university, and often, by the students’ parents.
The real cost of living
Multiple those yearly costs by four and college students will see how much it costs to replicate their current standard of living. Leaving university life will be costly as well as eye-opening.
The lifestyle enjoyed in college would cost, on average, $160,000 per year. That estimate does not take any indebtedness into account. Many students consider going into debt as much a part of the college experience as attending football games. They know they won’t face that debt until they graduate.
They have unprecedented levels of debt without understanding the consequences of creating that indebtedness and delaying repayment. The average undergraduate has $37,172 in student loan debt and will take 21 years to pay it off.
At an annual average salary of $49,785, recent college graduates entering the workforce will not be able to maintain the lifestyle they enjoyed in college.
A new lifestyle
The shocking difference between college life and living as an adult on ones own is what has caused one-third of college graduates to move back in with their parents, a significant other, or friends.
It may be one way to avoid the sticker shock that comes from having an unreal sense of living expenses.