Imagine if your rent or mortgage went up 15%. Or your car payment. Or your grocery bill. It would hurt. 15% is a big number. That’s how much on average the price of a 4-year public university has gone up, according to the US Department of Education. In some states, that price hike is as high as 40%.
Parents who have tucked away money for their children’s education are facing tough choices. In some cases they’re forced to pick one child to send to college over another. In other instance, they’re opting to send their child to a 2-year community college instead of a 4-year university.
It’s a reality that’s squarely hitting middle class families: falling paychecks and rising college tuition costs.
The US Department of Education looked at 4,165 colleges and universities across the country. They looked at recent changes in the “sticker price,” the stated amount for tuition and books and the “net price,” the price after you factor in scholarships and grants.
They’ve published the data to help parents and students make the best choices.
On a conference call, Education Secretary Arne Duncan urged parents to comparison shop when picking a college or university.
“Look at several colleges and consider both price and graduation rate, obviously, as well as other factors. You’ve got to find the best fit,” Duncan said.
“To be smart education shoppers, students need to understand how much they will receive in aid, in grants, in scholarships, which obviously they don’t have to pay back, and how much they’ll have to take out in student loans which they do have to pay back upon graduation,” Duncan added.
In the last year 40 states have cut public education funding. No surprise, state schools have passed along the costs to parents and students.
What are your thoughts? Any tips for how parents and students can afford college?