How Much Does It Cost to Get a Bachelors Degree?

By Amy Hayes
Edited by Briana Sukert
Updated on May 5, 2024
Edited by Briana Sukert
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How much does it cost to get a bachelors degree? This is one of the first questions many people ask when thinking about going to college.

How Much Does It Cost to Get a Bachelors Degree

Along with the cost of tuition, there are other expenses and fees that add up to equal the total cost of attendance.

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The cost to get a bachelors degree can widely vary based on a number of factors, such as the specific college or university, financial aid eligibility, and the program of study.

How Much Does a Bachelor’s Degree Cost?

Students attending a Bachelors degree program

So, how much does a bachelor’s degree cost? The answer largely depends on several factors, including:

  • In-state vs. out-of-state institution
  • Public vs. private college or university
  • Program of study
  • Scholarships and financial aid
  • In-person vs. online programs

Average college tuition per year and other expenses are generally lower for students attending a public, in-state postsecondary institution. Out-of-state and private schools typically have higher tuition rates and fees.

Based on research conducted by the CollegeBoard, here is a breakdown of the average cost of tuition, fees, and room and board expenses associated with different types of colleges.

Institution Tuition and Fees Room and Board Total
Public Two Year
$3,860 $9,610  $13,470
Public Four Year
 $10,940  $12,310 $23,250
Public Four Year
$28,240 $12,310 $40,550
Private Nonprofit
Four Year
$39,400 $14,030 $53,430

Some majors might cost more than others because of how much it may cost the school to provide the major coursework required and various books and supplies needed.

If you’re eligible for financial aid or earn scholarships, you may have less out-of-pocket expenses and earn your bachelors degree at a lower cost than you would without any financial assistance.

If you’re considering an online degree, you might be wondering, ‘How much does college cost online?’ Some expenses and fees that may not apply to online degrees, such as room and board and travel, could make getting a bachelor’s degree online more affordable.

Cost of Attendance

Student working on her project

The combination of all tuition costs, fees, and other college expenses equals the total cost of attendance (COA). The total COA is the amount of money you can expect to pay for your degree. The COA for most schools includes these expenses:

  • Tuition. This is the money paid for instruction and classes, which can vary depending on the school, program of study, and residency status.
  • Room and board. This typically includes the cost of housing and a meal plan or food a college provides.
  • Books and supplies. This includes any fees or expenses you may pay to get books and other class materials or equipment professors require.
  • Transportation. This can be factored into the COA if you plan on commuting to your college. This could also include any expenses related to traveling to places you may need to go off-campus.
  • Other expenses. Other expenses can pop up while you’re earning your degree, such as paying for laundry services, eating off-campus, buying personal care items, or entertainment.

All of these expenses can widely vary depending on your needs, your program of study, and your school. If you’re wondering how much is a bachelor’s degree from a specific college, some schools provide an estimated COA.

Pros and Cons of Online Bachelor’s Degrees

There are a number of pros and cons that come with earning a bachelor’s degree online. You might take these into consideration when deciding whether an online college degree is right for you.

Pros Cons
  • Opportunity to pursue careers that require a bachelor’s degree
  • Potential access to a wider range of job opportunities
  • Ability to learn from home or anywhere
  • Flexible class times
  • May be more affordable than a traditional in-person program
  • May miss out on potential income made from working instead of going to school
  • Lack of face-to-face instruction and networking opportunities
  • Need to pay off student loans after graduation
  • May not be a good fit depending on your personal learning style
  • May not be able to earn certain majors fully online

Schools may have different approaches to quick online degree programs, so it’s beneficial to research prospective schools and the support and resources they offer specifically for online students.

Just like when searching for quick medical degrees online, you can also check with prospective schools to determine if your intended program of study includes travel requirements to campus for any reason.

Financing Your Bachelor’s Degree

student applying for bachelor's degree scholarship

Saving up to pay for college can take some time, but here are some other ways to finance a bachelor’s degree:

  • Federal student loans. You can submit a FAFSA through the US Department of Education to find out if you’re eligible for federal loans.
  • Private student loans. These loans aren’t associated with the federal government and can be sought after through various lenders like banks or credit unions.
  • Grants and scholarships. These are non-repayable forms of financial aid offered by various institutions and organizations.
  • Employer tuition assistance. Employers may offer these programs to their employees to provide financial support for their higher education.
  • Work during school. This option allows you to earn money by working throughout college so you can pay as you go.

There are some schools that pay you to attend college through grants, scholarships, or financial aid, which in some cases covers the total COA.

Is a Bachelor’s Degree Worth It?

student getting her bachelor's degree

Yes, a bachelor’s degree is worth it for many students. There are many careers that require a bachelor’s degree for entry.

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, professionals with a bachelors degree, on average, have higher earnings and a lower unemployment rate than those without a four-year degree. Earning a bachelor’s degree may help you secure a job in your desired field or advance in your current position. A bachelor’s degree can also act as a stepping stone toward an advanced degree.

How do you get a bachelor’s degree? You can start researching accredited schools today to find the institution and degree program that best align with your interests and needs.

Ready to start your journey?