www.advanceweb.com | 2018 | FOCUS ON EDUCATION 39 Whatever the reason – consider this ques- tion: Is it affordable? We already discussed the average cost of a year in college. But this is the average. Some colleges will be more, and some will be less. Where does your chosen school fall? And can you pay for it with ease, and minimal student loan debt? Write down the cost of tuition for one year of your dream school. Then, do some research. Select several comparable colleges and write down their tuition. How do they compare? You could also compare the cost of doing your education online versus doing your edu- cation in an actual brick-and-mortar institu- tion. Truly weigh all your options. When it is time to pick your school, you’ll select the institution that has the most reason- able price as well as the best “fit.” TEXTBOOKS This may seem like a little thing, but textbooks can really drive up the cost of your education. Whether you’re going to college part-time, tak- ing six credits, or full-time, taking 18 credits, you’re likely going to need a textbook (or six). A 2014 estimate suggested that the average college student spends around $1,200 per year on college textbook – and a textbook can cost up to $200! What’s more, the Government Accountability Office noted that the cost of the average college textbook rose approxi- mately 82% between 2003 and 2013 – that’s three times the rate of inflation. How can you cut your costs? If you can, buy your textbooks used. Of course, sometimes this is impossible. There’s always going to be that professor who requests a new edition of a textbook that no one else has. But if you can, buying a used textbook can reduce your costs. Digital textbooks are also an option. You can choose to purchase a digital copy or rent your textbook from a site such as VitalSource. THE BOTTOM LINE… Regardless of your degree, a college education is expensive. However, there are ways to make it more affordable, if you are willing to do a lit- tle research. n Krystina is a 30-something RN, BSN, CDE who has worked in a variety of nursing disciplines, from telemetry to allergy/immunotherapy to most recently, diabetes education. She is also a writer and has enjoyed expanding her writing career over the past several years. She balances her careers as a nurse and a writer with being a wife and a mother. She has a four year old son who is an inquisitive, energetic little guy who is up for anything. She also enjoys reading, travel- ing, cooking, baking, and yoga (both practicing and teaching). Resources Schoen, J.W. (2015, June 16). Why college costs are so high and rising. CNBC. Retrieved from https://www.cnbc.com/2015/06/16/why-college- costs-are-so-high-and-rising.html FOCUS ON EDUCATION  |  FINANCES