What is My Cost Per Credit Hour?

There are many factors to consider when choosing a college—one of the biggest factors being tuition. As you are looking into school tuition, you will likely find information about the cost per credit hour. You’re not alone if you’re wondering what that means.

Keep reading for a breakdown of what cost per credit hour is and how to figure it out for yourself!

What is “cost per credit hour”?

School tuition is a combination of many fees and charges billed together as a lump sum to the student. If you are reviewing your tuition bills, you might see charges based on your credit hours. Schools charge based on the credit amount of the class rather than a flat fee.

If the national average for four-year universities and colleges comes out to $600 per credit hour — you might be thinking that’s how much each one of your classes is going to cost. That’s not the case. It depends on how many credits the class is worth and the cost per credit at your school. 

Still confused? Here’s an easier breakdown.

If you take a class worth three college credits, that means you have enrolled in a class that is 3 credit hours. To calculate your cost per credit hour, you would calculate as such:

3 credit hours   x      $600 per credit hour =      $1,800 per class

Now, if you are enrolling in 5 classes for the semester that are three credit hours each, your cost for your classes (before taxes and fees) would be calculated like so:

15 credit hours         x      $600 per credit hour =      $9,000 per semester

For full-time enrollment at a 4-year university or college at this rate would run you around $9,000 per semester if you are taking 15 credits per semester. To complete your 120 credits, it would take you 8 semesters coming out to over $70,000 to complete your Bachelor’s Degree. 

Sound like a lot? It sure is. This is why students choose to enroll in community college to save money. Let’s take a look at their cost per credit hour.

Assuming the average rate for a community college is around $150 per credit hour, you would use the same formulas as above but replace the cost per credit hour. Here’s what it looks like:

3 credit hours   x      $150 per credit hour =      $450 per class

That’s significantly lower. Let’s see what that cost looks like per semester!

15 credit hours         x      $150 per credit hour =      $2,250 per semester

If you were to attend a community college for two years (4 semesters) at this rate, you would pay $9,000, which is the cost of just ONE semester at the 4-year school. You can save tens of thousands of dollars by completing your early years at a community college and then transferring to your 4-year University or college later on.

To really help keep your costs down, make sure to file your FAFSA® before picking your school. Financial aid is the best resource for those who qualify and receive it to keep tuition costs down.

Have questions about financial aid or need help filing your FAFSA®? The FRANK Team is here to help! You can reach us via email at support@withfrank.org or text us at (347) 690-7886.