This guide is designed to answer one question for you: How are you going to afford Columbia Southern University?
You probably know that planning for expenses is an important part of the college application process. What you may not know is how many different things you need to keep track of to pay tuition and apply for financial aid.
Here's what we'll cover:
- How much does Columbia Southern University tuition cost?
- How much financial aid do students at Columbia Southern University usually get?
- How much debt is typical for students at Columbia Southern University?
- How much will Columbia Southern University cost YOU, and can you actually afford it?
- Is Columbia Southern University a good value for you?
- What are other schools that might be a better value than Columbia Southern University?
By learning more about expenses and aid, you’re already on the right path to managing college costs. Let’s get started!
School location: Orange Beach, AL
How Much Does Columbia Southern University Cost?
Knowing what a school costs is Step #1 in managing college costs. There’s more to think about than just the tuition—you also have to factor in where you'll live, what you'll eat, and more while attending Columbia Southern University.
The "Cost of Attendance" is the total amount of money the average student has to pay, WITHOUT any financial aid, to attend a particular school. Think of it as a school’s sticker price. It includes not just Columbia Southern University tuition and fees, but also room, board, textbooks, and personal expenses.
Here’s the Cost of Attendance breakdown for Columbia Southern University:
- Tuition and Fees $4895 $4895
- Room & Board, Off-Campus $5000
- Typical Total Cost for Off-Campus Students Typical Total Cost for Off-Campus Students $13615 $13615
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How Much Financial Aid Do Students at Columbia Southern University Get?
The Cost of Attendance listed above might be intimidating. The good news is that most students don’t end up paying that full price to attend Columbia Southern University. Financial aid helps make up the difference between the Cost of Attendance and what families can actually afford.
Here we'll cover how many students get Columbia Southern University financial aid, what types of aid they get, and how much.
A Brief Intro to Financial Aid
Aid comes in many forms, including:
- Need-based grants
- Merit-based scholarships
- Student loans
This financial aid comes from a few different places:
- Federal aid comes from the federal government, or is subsidized by the federal government.
- Institutional aid comes from your school itself.
Generally, it’s better for MORE students to receive HIGH amounts of financial aid—this means students pay less for college.
Let’s take a look at how Columbia Southern University compares to other schools.
Let's start with the overall numbers. At Columbia Southern University, we know that:
81% of Students Get ANY Aid
This is 3% LOWER than the average for Private for-profit schools, which is 84%.
This could be bad news - fewer students getting aid could mean students are paying more at Columbia Southern University than they would at other similar schools. It could also mean students attending Columbia Southern University are wealthier and need less aid.
To break this apart, we'll next look at each type of aid and how much students get from each.
Grants and Scholarships
We’re focusing on grants and scholarships first because they’re the most important forms of financial aid. Grants and scholarships are better than loans because students don’t ever have to pay them back. The more grant/scholarship aid students receive at a particular school, the better off those students are in the long run.
At Columbia Southern University, we know that:
72% Get ANY Grant Money
This is 1% LOWER than the average for Private for-profit schools, which is 73%.
Although it’s useful to know how many students get grant aid, it’s also important to know how much grant aid people tend to receive. The bigger the average grant award, the better.
So how much grant money do students at Columbia Southern University tend to receive?
Average Grant Award: $3264
This is $3017 LOWER than the average for Private for-profit schools, which is $6281.
Altogether, this is bad news - at Columbia Southern University, FEWER students get aid, and each aid grant is LESS than average. This is a double whammy that means students have to rely more on loans to pay for college.
How Generous is Columbia Southern University’s Financial Aid?
The grant dollar amounts we’ve seen so far have included aid from all sources - both federal and institutional. Schools don’t have much control over how much federal aid students can qualify for (like Pell Grants), but they do their own financial aid dollars and how they’re used.
To figure out how strong Columbia Southern University’s own financial aid program is, we’ll look at how they award their own (non-federal) financial aid dollars. The more students receive aid directly from the school (otherwise known as institutional aid), and the bigger the award amounts, the better the financial aid program.
Let’s see how generous Columbia Southern University is with its students:
18% Get ANY School Grants
This is 12% LOWER than the average for Private for-profit schools, which is 30%.
Because Columbia Southern University gives a smaller percentage of its students institutional grants than similar schools, it may offer less competitive financial aid.
Some schools may claim to offer large amounts of aid to prospective students without advertising that much of this money may come in the form of student loans - money that you have to pay back. To figure out if this is the case, check out our following section on student loan debt at Columbia Southern University.
The amount of money that students actually get is just as important (if not more important) than the percent of students who get grants. If you receive a grant, you’ll want it to be big enough to do you some good.
Average School Grant: $377
This is $4011 LOWER than the average for Private for-profit schools, which is $4388.
Right away, it seems like Columbia Southern University offers less institutional aid than other schools. This can mean a few things: first, students who do receive institutional grants may not get a competitive amount, compared to other schools.
Second, this can also mean that the school just costs less than the typical school of its type. If the school costs less, it makes sense for the average grant award to be lower.
Up to this point, we've looked entirely at grants for Columbia Southern University. Next, we'll do the same analysis for student loans, which is where student debt comes from.
How Much Debt is Typical for Students at Columbia Southern University?
Aside from grants, the other major way to pay for college is with student loans. Student loans aren’t free sums of money - you borrow a certain amount to attend Columbia Southern University, and then pay it back with smaller monthly payments after you graduate.
The more student loan money you borrow, the more debt you’ll end up with after graduation. Ideally, you want to minimize your student debt as much as possible. Less debt means less of a financial burden once you leave school.
It’s generally a bad sign if a school has many students taking out a lot of loans. This indicates that graduates have to worry about paying back big sums of money once they leave school.
To address the amount and type of debt that students take on, this section will cover:
- Loan Overview
- Federal Loans
- Other Loans
Let’s see what students at Columbia Southern University have to deal with:
First, let’s talk about how many students at Columbia Southern University actually have to take out any student loans at all. The ideal goal is to graduate with little to no debt.
It’s very common for college grads in the US to graduate with some debt, but high percentages of students taking on loans at a particular school is a big red flag. In contrast, low percentages of students with loans is a sign that Columbia Southern University tuition is affordable.
So how many students actually end up taking out loans at Columbia Southern University?
55% Have ANY Loans
This is 16% lower than the average for Private for-profit schools, which is 71%.
It’s a good sign that lower numbers of students take out loans at Columbia Southern University. It doesn’t necessarily mean that students end up with lower amounts of debt - we’ll get to that question very shortly - but it suggests that Columbia Southern University is more affordable for the average student.
Next, we'll look at exactly HOW much debt the average person takes out while in school.
Now that you have a handle on the basic loan information for Columbia Southern University, we’ll get into some more nitty-gritty information on the types and amounts of loans that students typically have.
We’ll start with federal loans because, in general, federal loans are preferable to private loans. Federal loans tend to have low interest rates, which means they cost less in the long run. They may come with other perks (like subsidization or even options for loan forgiveness).
High percentages or amounts of federal loans still isn’t a great sign - again, you don’t want to see students burdened with too much debt. Generally, schools with strong financial aid programs will have students with more federal loans than private loans.
Let’s see how Columbia Southern University stacks up:
55% Have Federal Loans
At Columbia Southern University, 55% of all students take out federal loans. This is 16% LOWER than the average percent of students for Private for-profit schools, which is 71%.
Average Federal Loan: $6104
At Columbia Southern University, the average annual federal loan amount is $6104. This amount is $1330 LESS than the average for Private for-profit schools, which is $7434.
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What Would It Cost YOU to Attend Columbia Southern University?
Finally, we get to the bottom line: what will Columbia Southern University actually cost YOU? Every family has a different situation, and depending on your income level, you'll have to pay more or less to go to college.
What is Net Price, and Why Does it Matter?
Above, we've covered Columbia Southern University's Cost of Attendance (tuition, room and board, books, and more). We also covered its typical financial aid in grants, loans, and scholarships.
The Net Price is the total cost minus the total aid given. In other words, this is the price you have to pay to the school out of pocket. The lower the school's cost, and the more aid you get, the lower the Net Price.
We'll cover two ways to get your Net Price for Columbia Southern University - the fast way, and the precise way.
Net Price: The Quick and Easy Way
If you want a quick, general idea of your annual Net Price at Columbia Southern University, here's a handy chart showing the net price of real students. All you need is your family income.
|If your family makes between...||Your Net Price will likely be around...|
|$0 - $30,000||$9546|
|$30,001 - $48,000||$10065|
|$48,001 - $75,000||$10395|
|$75,001 - $110,000||$12588|
|$110,000 and up||N/A|
Note that these values may be a few years old, and today's prices may be a bit higher.
As we'll discuss next, your exact Net Price will depend on other factors like the number of family members and total assets, but this represents the typical Net Price.
Net Price: The Most Accurate Method
Most schools have an updated Net Price calculator available. To find it, just google "Columbia Southern University Net Price Calculator" - the official tool should be one of the top search results.
Often the school will ask for more information than just income:
- The number of people in your household
- The number of family members in college
- Parental wages, income, and assets
- Student wages, income, and assets
This will take 10-15 minutes to complete, and you'll get a specific net price that's more accurate than the table above.
Can You Afford to Attend Columbia Southern University?
Once you have a Net Price estimate, you’ll want to figure out whether your family can afford to pay Columbia Southern University tuition and costs. Once again, the Net Price is the total cost of attending, minus the aid you can expect to get (grants and scholarships). It's the amount you'd have to cover yourself.
The US government has come up with a standardized way to calculate how much a typical family can afford to pay without help. They call this the Expected Family Contribution, or EFC.
As an example, a family that brings home $80,000 in income before taxes, with no assets and no other children in college, has an EFC of around $7,000. This is the amount the government thinks that family can reasonably pay, and the school will have to step in and cover the rest.
Colleges use this number as a guideline to decide how much aid to give you, but it's just a guideline. Some schools will be stingier with aid, and you'll have to pay more than the government's suggested EFC.
So we're going to calculate your EFC and compare it to Columbia Southern University's Net Price. If the Net Price is higher than the EFC, the school will cost more than you can typically afford. It's a simple equation:
Net Price - Expected Family Contribution = Deficit (extra cost you would need to cover)
We've constructed a simple tool to figure out whether Columbia Southern University is affordable for you:
This tool will calculate your Expected Family Contribution, or EFC. In order to calculate this amount, we need just 4 pieces of information from you. We won't save this data.
Finally: Is This Price Really Worth It?
Chances are, college won't be cheap. Even if you have a few top choice schools in mind like Columbia Southern University, it's still useful to explore broadly.
A few questions to ponder:
- How much better off will you be if you attend Columbia Southern University as opposed to a similar, but cheaper, school?
- Have you considered a range of private and public schools? Big and small?
- What if you didn't attend college at all? (This is extreme, but just worth considering even for a second.
Here's our take: college will be a really important stage in your development. Going to a better, more reputable college will usually pay off in the long run. By going to a better college, you'll be surrounded by a more interesting community, find it easier to land a job, and open up opportunities.
To determine the value of Columbia Southern University, we're going to rely on reputable ranking lists. These consider factors like reputation, student selectivity, income after graduating, and more to determine the value of a school.
So how does Columbia Southern University stack up?
Based primarily on its academic reputation, we consider Columbia Southern University a medium value school, placing it in the top 50% of schools in terms of value.
As a regional school, Columbia Southern University may not be a household name nationwide, but it's known to people in the local area as a solid school. You're likely to have a pretty good education and graduate with a good start toward the rest of your career.
Compared to some other regional schools, Columbia Southern University didn't appear on our best value lists. This might be because the net price is higher than for other schools of similar reputation. This isn't the end of the world - you can likely still afford Columbia Southern University by taking out loans, earning scholarships, or working part-time. And you should still see what kind of offer they can make you.
Overall, Columbia Southern University is a decent value, and going to college here will likely pay off over time. However, if you can get into a better school, with a better reputation and lower price, this can really make a big difference in your life.
How Do You Get In?
To meet Columbia Southern University's admission requirements, you'll need to have competitive SAT/ACT scores and a good GPA. Otherwise, you won't meet their bar of quality.
How do you compare to other students accepted to Columbia Southern University? Check out our Admissions Guide to Columbia Southern University.
What Other Schools Should You Consider?
Your next step should be to get a better idea of costs and aid availability at similar schools. If you’re interested in Columbia Southern University, you should check out some other high-value schools that could give you more bang for your buck. Get started here to check both in-state and out-of-state schools that might provide a better value.
Better Value Schools
Finally, we're going to look at schools that might offer a better value than Columbia Southern University. To compile this list, we first find schools at similar academic levels, so you have a similar chance at getting in. Then we select schools that better value for you, by being more affordable or having a higher quality of education
It’s hard to know exactly what schools will be a great value for you without information on your family income. Enter your family income here for the best recommendations for schools:
There are a lot of potential financial benefits that come with attending a school close to home. For example, in-state public schools tend to have subsidized tuitions for state residents. Students may also have the chance to save money if they choose to stay at home.
If you’re looking for good deals on schools in your state, you should start by checking out the following colleges and universities:
You can still get a good value on your education if you choose to attend an out-of-state school, especially if you qualify for generous financial aid.
If you’re interested in getting an education out-of-state, start by checking out the following colleges and universities:
How would your chances at getting into Columbia Southern University improve with a better score?
Now that we've figured out whether you can afford Columbia Southern University, we need to focus on getting you in. A big part of this is your SAT/ACT score.
A 160 point increase in your SAT score, or a 4 point increase in your ACT score, makes a HUGE improvement in your chances of getting into Columbia Southern University.
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