The Rise Of College Costs: Rising, Yet Often Exaggerated
Career College Central summary:
“Soaring college costs” is a phrase journalists and speechwriters have applied frequently to descibe the rising costs of pursuing a college degree. While its become conventional wisdom that the cost of attending college has risen far more than the cost of just about any other major item in family budgets, are costs truly out of control?
According to an article in The New York Times, "the cost of attending college has indeed increased more quickly than inflation in recent years, but it has not risen as fast as many people imagine." One reason for the misunderstanding is the fact that the list price of college – especially the list price of elite private colleges – receives far more attention than the actual price. The list price is the one that colleges highlight in their brochures and that media accounts often mention; the actual price, which takes financial aid into account, reflects what families truly pay and, by any imaginable definition, matters more.
Over the last two decades, the actual price of a year at a private college, including tuition, fees, room and board, has risen at an annual average of 1.6 percent on top of inflation, according to the College Board. In nominal terms – that is, not controlling for inflation – the increase has been about 4 percent a year.
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THE NEW YORK TIMES