For most people, going to college is an expensive adventure. However, the true cost of obtaining a bachelor's degree depends upon the type of school you choose to attend, the length of time that it takes to complete your degree and the amount of scholarships and financial aid awards you can obtain.

Types of Schools

Colleges and universities that offer bachelor's degrees generally fall into one of two categories: private or public institutions. Private institutions rely on private donations as opposed to government funding to run their institutions. As a result, tuition at private colleges is often higher than at publicly funded institutions. According to the College Surfing website, the average four-year tuition bill for the 2009-2010 school year at a private institution was $105,092 as opposed to $28,080 for public schools.

Delayed Completion

Tuition is determined on an annual basis and in most cases, it increases by a small percentage each year. A bachelor's degree is commonly referred to as a four-year degree since it takes most students four years to satisfactorily complete all course requirements. Taking a semester or a year off may cause your tuition bill to increase since you will not be exempt from annual tuition increases. Similarly, if you attend class on a part-time basis or fail to complete your course requirements on time, you will likely end up paying more than the average tuition amount.

Financial Aid Considerations

Scholarships and other financial aid awards can drastically reduce the cost of your college tuition regardless of whether you attend a private or public institution. Generally, scholarships are merit based and are provided by your school, civic foundations and religious organizations. Financial aid awards are based upon need and economic circumstances. These awards are generally acquired through the student's school or a government organization.