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Paying for College

When considering the cost of a college education, don’t be shocked by a university’s sticker price. There are plenty of factors that bring down this seemingly high cost.


“Paying for College” Vocabulary

Sticker Price: The advertised price of one year’s total expenses at the college of your choice. This is the cost of tuition, room, board, and additional expenses combined.

Net Price: The amount remaining for one year’s expenses after factoring in scholarships, grants, and gift aid. This price does not factor in loans or work-study options. 

Out-of-Pocket Cost: The amount remaining that a family is responsible for paying out-of-pocket after factoring in all gift aid (scholarships, grants, etc.) and financial aid loans and/or work study options. Keep in mind that if loans are taken as part of your financial aid package, they will eventually need to be paid back after graduation.

Academic Merit Scholarships: Money awarded by the university to all students based on their academic standing (high school GPA) and their standardized test scores (ACT/SAT). All students qualify, but will receive varying amounts of scholarship money based on their academic performance in high school. This money is free and is not repaid to the university or federal government.

Federal Financial Aid: This is financial assistance provided by the federal government. This financial aid can be in the form of free money, work opportunities to help pay for college, or borrowed money that you will pay back with interest to the federal government after completing your degree (or if you discontinue pursuing a degree).

  • Grant: Financial aid that doesn’t have to be repaid (unless you withdraw from school and owe a refund).
  • Federal Loans: Borrowed money from the federal government used to pay for college. These loans must be repaid, with interest, after you complete your degree or withdraw from the university
  • Subsidized Federal Loans: An interest free loan while a student is in college or graduate school, but does begin to accrue interest after a student is no longer enrolled at least half-time.
  • Work Study: A work program through which you earn money to help pay for school. This will often be work on campus at your university or work nearby through university partnerships with area non-profits.

Institutional Grants: Some universities, typically private universities, will offer institutional grants to students that show additional financial need. These grants are free and do not need to be repaid to the university.


Indebtedness and Paying Off College Debt

To help you understand the cost of paying off college debt after graduation, we have compiled the average amount of debt after a four-year college education in the state of Wisconsin and nationwide.

*This amount can vary based on your actual amount of debt, so this should only be used for reference.

Viterbo average total debt for undergrad borrowers: $32,758 (federal + private loans)

  • Wisconsin average debt for four-year institutions: $28,810 (federal + private loans)
  • National average debt for four-year institutions: $30,100 (federal + private loans)

Full National Report
Affording Viterbo

Earnings and Unemployment Rates by Educational Attainment (2015) | Bureau of Labor Statistics

Data shows that unemployment decreases and pay increases with the attainment of higher education. So, while college does require and substantial initial investment, the pay-off is exceptional.

Educational Attainment 2015


Making an Informed Decision about College Choice and Cost

When it comes to the cost of college and making an affordable choice, it’s important to do your research and ask some important questions. These may include:

  • How much money can I expect to be making after I graduate?
  • For my career choice, how much can I expect to pay each month in loan repayments after I graduate college?
  • How much do I need to make so that I can afford to pay back my loans with interest?
  • How long do I want to be repaying my loans after I graduate? (Avg. 10 years)

In order to better answer these questions, here are some suggested resources:

Occupational Outlook Handbook

This is a tool provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that allows you to research almost any occupation or career field to see what your job outlook and expected income might look like when you earn a degree. This tool might also help you decide which area of your desired field you may want to specialize in for desired job responsibilities, a higher income, projected job growth and opportunities, etc.

College Scorecard

This tool, provided by the Department of Education, allows you to look up any school and instantly receive all financial information of interest to help you with your college decision process. You can even search schools by location, size, program/degrees, etc. Most valuable feature? You can see the typical amount of debt students have after leaving the university and how much the typical student expects to pay per month in loan repayment costs after graduation.

How to Manage Your Student Loans

To better understand your loan repayment options after you leave your university, studentaid.gov created a simple video that describes all of your options.

College Loan Repayment Options


Additional Resources


Paying for a Viterbo Education

Sticker vs. Net Price at Viterbo

While our sticker price begins higher than our public counterparts, the average out-of-pocket cost for a full-time freshman Viterbo student living on campus for 2016–2017 is $11,065.

Average Annual Cost

*Circumstances such as high school grades, ACT/SAT scores, individual and family income, and scholarship eligibility all affect this out-of-pocket cost for the individual student.

Average Annual Cost at Viterbo by Family Income | College Scorecard

Average Annual Cost

Full Report

How Families Pay for College (2016) | Sallie Mae

Data shows that it is very common to pay for college with loans. In fact, before this year, it was the most common way that families paid for a student’s higher education. In 2016, scholarships and grants became the #1 way that families pay for a college education. This is great news, as it means that more students are being offered scholarships and grants to cover college costs than past years.

How Families Paid for College

Full Report

Freshman Net Price Calculator

Want to calculate your personal net price for a more accurate estimation? Use our Freshman Net Price Calculator.


Scholarships and Financial Aid

Academic Merit Scholarships at Viterbo

All students who attend Viterbo are awarded an academic merit scholarship each year for four years. The value of this scholarship is decided based on a student’s application for admission, especially their highest composite ACT/SAT score and their high school GPA. This merit scholarship can be as high as $14,000 per year.

Additional Outside Scholarships at Viterbo

Viterbo also offers a long list of additional scholarships for which students can apply. A comprehensive list can be found using the link below (this list is subject to change each year). We strongly encourage students to also seek out scholarship opportunities  provided by their school or surrounding community. These are typically stackable on top of Viterbo funding.

Viterbo Freshman Scholarships

Need-based Financial Assistance at Viterbo | FAFSA

Most students file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in order to qualify for grants, work study, and low interest loans to use to help pay for their college education. By determining a student’s eligibility for federal, state, or additional institutional funding, the FAFSA allows thousands of students who may have originally assumed college was not an affordable option to attend college.

All students considering higher education should file a FAFSA. FAFSA filing begins Oct. 1 of your senior year. Viterbo’s priority deadline to submit the FAFSA is Feb. 1.

Viterbo’s FAFSA Code: 003911


Looking for more financial aid information? Viterbo admission and financial aid staff members are happy to answer any questions.

Office of Admission
608-796-3010
admission@viterbo.edu

Financial Aid
608-796-3900
financialaid@viterbo.edu

For more online information about financial aid options, click here.

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