Continue your education
So this is the year you finally get those last credits and a diploma or that graduate degree, eh? Make sure to put a checkbook on your list of school supplies.

According to the College Board, even students who want to pad their academic achievements with a two-year associate's degree will have to pay more than their peers did a year ago. The average annual cost of attending a two-year public college rose 6%, to $2,713, which is still a bargain in the world of higher education.

Those looking to finish up a four-year degree or begin working toward one at an in-state public college or university will have to hand over an average of $7,555 in tuition and fees for 2010-11, or 7.9% more than they would have in in 2009-10. For out-of-state students, that tally rises to $19,595 -- a more than $1,000 premium over last year. Private-school students nearly quadruple their public in-state counterparts, paying an average of $27,293.

For students looking to finish their master's or doctoral degrees, the difference in tuition couldn't be more disparate. While $6,588 is 6.5% more than what grad students pursuing a master's were paying last year, it's almost four times less than the average $24,438 their private-school colleagues will pay. The same holds true for doctoral candidates, who pay little more than $8,500 in-state but nearly $33,700 at a private institution. None of that includes room and board, the costs of which are up between 4% and nearly 7% within the last year.

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