Plan & Pay for College

College Costs

Before making a final decision about your higher education future, take time to learn about the total cost of program attendance. Making a plan to tackle total program costs can help you reach your education goals.

As you research costs, also learn about Oregon’s financial aid options to learn about additional resources.

The most up-to-date college cost information is located on the website for the college, university or program that interests you. Consider using some of the tools to the right to research costs and compare your options. Also consider opportunities to save for your college expenses in advance.

  • Savings: explore opportunities to save for your educational expenses, such as through the Oregon College Savings Plan. This is a 529 plan sponsored by the State of Oregon, which is an investment vehicle specifically designed specifically for postsecondary education expenses. 

Estimated Average Standard Student Budgets for Oregon Postsecondary Institutions

Terms Used when Calculating Total Cost

  • Cost of Attendance: The total amount it will cost you to attend school—usually stated as a yearly figure. COA generally includes tuition and fees; room and board (or a housing and food allowance); and allowances for books, supplies, transportation, loan fees, dependent care, and miscellaneous and personal expenses.
  • Net Price: Net Price is the amount a student pays to attend an institution in a single academic year, after subtracting student scholarships and grants received. Scholarships and grants are forms of financial aid that do not have to be paid back.
  • Tuition and Fees: The primary cost for credits and coursework which often includes instructor costs, lab costs, library use, and a wide variety of campus services. Typically, schools will price courses by the credit. Most classes in a degree program are three credits each. 
  • Room and Board: housing (e.g. dorms, apartments or houses) and food costs, which could include a meal plan offered by the school.
  • Books and Supplies: books, pens, notebooks and other required supplies. For example, health sciences students can expect to pay for medical equipment while graphic design students will need specialty art supplies.
  • Personal and Transportation: personal items—such as furniture or a computer—and the cost of travel during school, as well as returning home during holidays.

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Tools to Research Costs

Use these tools to estimate financial aid status and explore options. Also check with individual schools of choice for specific information. 

College Navigator
search for and compare colleges on criteria including costs, majors offered, size of school, campus safety, and graduation rates.
College Scorecard: 
research a college’s affordability and value to make better informed decisions about which college to attend.
College Affordability and Transparency Center
find out how much it costs students to attend colleges.
ACT Education and Career Planning
information on career choices, types, and sources of financial aid, and a financial aid need estimator.
US Department of Education Office of Financial Aid:
resources explaining private and federal student loan types. Before taking out a student loan, be sure to understand how repayment will work for you.

a 529 plan, which is an investment vehicle specifically designed specifically for postsecondary education expenses. The Oregon College Savings Plan website ​also offers tools for estimating and planning for higher education expenses.​​