Posts Tagged ‘education’

This just in: College is costly

26 June 2013


Don’t worry, it’s still worth it, in a big way, at least on average. But that’s another story. This chart here has some interesting stories to tell:


(1) The big difference between average published tuition (“sticker price”) and net tuition at public four-year colleges is a big surprise to me. I teach at a four-year public college, and I don’t think we offer big tuition scholarships to all that many people. I know that some of the flagship state universities do, and those schools also have a lot more people paying high out-of-state tuition, which surely explains some of the gap. But a difference of more than a half? I would not have guessed.

— Side note: My students would no doubt point out that this chart includes only tuition and not room/board/etc., which cost a lot more than tuition at ours and many state colleges.

(2) The average net tuition paid at four-year public colleges has doubled in real (inflation-adjusted) terms in just ten years! That’s a big jump. Parents and younger siblings cannot be pleased about this.

(3) The average net tuition at private colleges is well under half the sticker price, but it’s still steep: $52,000 for four years, more if you figure that tuition inflation will continue.

(4) State schools have lost about half their relative (tuition) cost advantage to private colleges, and state school tuition is about one-fifth of private college tuition. I’m not sure which of those statistics is more significant. Overall, assuming the quality difference between public and private schools has not changed, the first point means state schools are only half as good a deal (ignoring non-tuition fee) as they used to be. But how many private colleges are five times better than public colleges (taking into account consumption value, impact on future earnings, impact on future quality of life)? Okay, throw in room, board, etc. and they are about $10.000 at both private and public, and now it’s a $12,500 net cost at public school vs. $23.000 at private school, so now the private school costs “only” 84% more. Still a big difference.

It seems the burden of proof is on private colleges to justify their huge extra cost. Depending on the college and the applicant, some are probably worth it and some aren’t. (I remember a bright student awhile back who said his father told him, “I’m not going to pay through the nose for four years just so you can screw around.”) Prospective applicants to pricey private colleges have some justifying of their own to do (hint, hint).


New York to self: Drop dead

10 January 2009

President-elect Obama and Congress are talking about a federal stimulus package that includes a substantial though as-yet-undetermined amount of aid to states and, possibly, localities.  Earlier this month Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland made an eloquent case for still more federal aid, to make up for more of the huge shortfall in revenues that normally go to education:

“It doesn’t make a lot of sense … to put huge resources into creating jobs with these infrastructure projects, while at the same time the states are having to lay off teachers, and to underfund education and to allow college tuition to explode.”

According to the Associated Press, Strickland and four other Democratic governors, including David Paterson of New York, presented Obama’s transition team and Congressional leaders with a request for $1 trillion in state aid, including $250 billion for education, $250 billion for social services such as Medicaid, and $150 billion in middle-class tax cuts.   The article mentions that Paterson said New York has a $15.4 billion deficit, but that’s it from him.  New York, as possibly the hardest-hit state in the union in this financial and economic crisis, has a compelling case for why the states have recession-related revenue shortfalls and could use federal aid.  Maybe Paterson made that case, but if so it didn’t make the article.