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College Is on Its Way to Costing Six Figures a Year

Dave_BerryDave_Berry 492 replies2600 threadsCC Admissions Expert Senior Member
"... And given the way American higher education has been going, it likely won’t be long after that before six-figure prices are common among selective colleges and universities. 'The [colleges] that are expensive are the ones that students want to apply to,' explains the Seton Hall University professor Robert Kelchen, who studies higher-education finance. 'Being expensive is seen as being good—if one [elite] college is 20 percent cheaper than another [elite] college, students are going to wonder what’s wrong with it.'" ...

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Replies to: College Is on Its Way to Costing Six Figures a Year

  • thumper1thumper1 75183 replies3300 threads Senior Member
    Some colleges will hit that price mark. But the assumption that these are the colleges “that students want to apply to” is a gross overstatement.
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  • RichInPittRichInPitt 1107 replies16 threads Senior Member
    Yes, the fundamentals of economics and inflation mean that this will happen. Absolute numbers are mostly a psychological factor. Increases compared to inflation, costs as a percentage of average family income, etc., are much, much more meaningful than a nice round number.

    If not sure I agree that a knowledgeable student will just write off a cheaper school. This would be a superficial analysis and most HS student spend a little more effort on their selection.
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  • Techno13Techno13 223 replies8 threads Junior Member
    If said 6-figure schools meet all demonstrated need, most students have little incentive to price shop around. It's the higher income (but not rich) families that are going to seek out the well-priced private schools, schools that offer merit aid, and public flagships.
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  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls 5604 replies1 threads Senior Member
    edited November 8
    In the short term the big name universities will still have a lot of applicants and will still find many students who are willing to pay the big bucks. At these prices lesser known or lower ranked schools are in trouble.

    In the long run I think that this is eventually going to cause problems for the big name expensive colleges. We are already seeing an increasingly large number of really top students attending public in-state universities because that is what they can afford. We are already seeing an increasingly large number of really great graduates coming from in-state public universities or universities in other countries. To the limited extent that I work at all, I work with a lot of them.

    This trend has gone on for a very long time. It cannot continue forever without something breaking. I do think that it will get to US$100,000 for the top schools.

    "It's the higher income (but not rich) families..."

    There is an old saying that the apple does not fall very far from the tree. There are some really top students from any group that you could name. However, there are quite a few top students whose parents were top students, and whose parents are in the range where need based aid is not going to happen but paying $320,000 for four years per child is very painful.
    edited November 8
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