It costs a lot to go to college. But, as I have said here before, what it will cost you to go to college is probably less than you might think.
Inside Higher Ed has reported on a new report out from the National Association of College and University Business Officers that details the discounts that students often receive from colleges. The reality is that colleges don’t charge most students the full, stated cost of the college. Instead they provide discounts that make the college more affordable.
Average discount rate for 2008 freshman? 42%! Most of this discount is occurring in the form of merit based scholarships where the colleges reward high grades, or talent like music and athletic talent.
While I am all for the cost of college being cheaper, one of the problems with this large discount rate is that for many colleges, the discount is being given to those who can afford to pay for the whole cost of college.
I hear you saying, what is wrong with merit scholarships? Merit scholarships have been around for years and are fine. But for every dollar that a college uses for a merit scholarship, there is less money available for those students who have real financial need.
Colleges can use their money any way they want and if it makes college cheaper for you, great. But, I worry about what is happening to those students who, even with high discounts, still can’t afford college. We need to come up with options so that everyone in this country has the right to higher education.
In the meantime, don’t be scared off by the high stated cost of a particular college. You might just find it is more affordable than you thought.