Colleges Tell Stories About Student Living Expenses, But Are They Believable?

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Colleges Tell Stories About Student Living Expenses, But Are They Believable?

May, 17th 2017

The cost of living in Chicago can vary from about $8,000 to about $23,000

Colleges have wildly different ideas of how much it costs to live while in school — even in the same city.

Estimates for living expenses in the same region that colleges provide to students vary by between $4,000 and $5,000 on average, depending on which school is doing the estimating, according to a study published earlier this week in the Journal of Higher Education.

This wide range in estimates can have consequences for students. The government caps federal student loan borrowing for an undergraduate at a school’s cost of attendance — a mix of tuition, fees and other living expenses. Colleges also publish this information in brochures and other marketing materials as they recruit students to...

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