Real World Applications – Algebra I
What’s the total cost of college?
Students will use direct variation to understand the cost of attending a four-year university.
Student will need:
- Access to internet
- Research a four-year university you would like to attend.
- On the university’s website, find how much it costs to attend that university each year.
- Create an equation to represent the total cost of attending the university.
- If I only wanted to spend a total of $20,000 on college, how many years would I be able to attend?
- If I wanted spend six years attending this university, how much would it cost?
- During a student’s first two years living on campus at a four-year university, what would the constant of proportionality be? Why?
- Would this be a direct variation relationship? Why or why not?
- What is the equation associated with this relationship?
- What is the difference between the equations of the proportional relationship and not proportional?
Let’s look at a particular university as an example and see the direct variation with the university’s tuition. Duke University is located in North Carolina, and is very competitive with college basketball. For undergraduates at Duke, the total cost to attending one year is $59,343. This is including the undergraduate fees, room and board, and an estimate of books and personal expenses. The information was found here: http://admissions.duke.edu/education/value
If we were to just focus on the tuition and fees, the cost is $40,101. Most students graduate with their bachelor’s degree in four years. We can calculate the total cost of attendance by using a formula with $40,101 as the constant: , where represents the number of years attending the university, and represents the total cumulative cost to go to college. In four years, we would substitute 4 in for in the equation, and solve for . . To attend this university, a person would typically spend $160,404 to graduate on time.