Story by Sarah Higley

It is a dream long awaited: overpriced textbooks, mounds of student loan debt and housing hardly worth the price.

It is also known as college — every high school graduate’s dream come true.

The average cost to attend a private university for one academic year is a startling $47,831, according to College Data, a website dedicated to giving students all the facts about college finances.

This figure includes the cost of tuition, fees, books, housing, food and transportation.

Because of tithe payers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, students at BYU-Idaho have their tuition subsidized. 

The average cost for one academic year for BYU-I students ranges between $9,000 and $11,500, according to the BYU-I admissions Web page, much below the average cost of other private institutions.

So how can student save money at BYU-I?

“To save money, I do a food meal plan,” said Jodi Page, a freshman majoring in general studies. “I just go to the store and buy everything in bulk so I have food to last me through the whole semester. That way, I only have to go to the store for milk and eggs and stuff like that.”

There are more options regarding food and where to get it than students may realize.

“I would not buy food in Rexburg,” said Marisa Willian, a senior studying child development. “I would recommend going to Winco and never buying on-brand stuff. You’re paying for the name, not the product.”

It can be hard for students to save money on books, but there are alternatives to buying new books from the bookstore.

“I always rent my textbooks,” said Abrianna Rice, a freshman studying psychology. “But, if I don’t rent them, I go on Amazon to buy them. It saves a lot of money.”

While buying books may seem a little pricier at the beginning of the semester, it may be worth it in the end. And, while it may seem convenient to just buy or rent your books at the bookstore, sometimes doing a little extra research may help you in the end as well.

“I like to buy my textbooks on Amazon and then return them to get the cash back at the end of the semester,” said Liz Bischoff, a senior majoring in marriage and family studies. “I won’t ever get the value back I paid for them in the beginning, but the cash is nice. A lot of times, I use it for my travel money at the end of the semester.”

Amazon, as well as other websites, such as postyourbook.com, or Viking Book here in Rexburg are other great resourses for buying new or used textbooks.

“A lot of students have a lot of financial aid left over after all their tuition, housing and books are paid for, and a lot of people just blow it,” Bischoff said. “Making a budget is key, and knowing where all your money is going is vital to managing your money.”

While managing your money is important, having fun is also vital to a great college experience.

Students may not know of the many on campus events that take place each semester. The Academy of Comedy, roller skating in the Manwaring Center Grand Ballroom, bowling in the MC, as well as Latin, swing or country dancing are all fun social events available to all students for under $5 a person, according to the BYU-I student activity webpage.

“I think it’s important to think of what you want to spend money on at the beginning of the semester and stick to it,” Bischoff said.

All in all, a student’s dream of college does not have to be about all the stresses of financial woes, but it can be the dream of education, friendship and more — college at its finest.