Friday, February 20, 2009

The value of a college education

By Jen Lynch

College is becoming more expensive for all students. Community colleges, public institutions and private universities have been hiking up costs in order to cover instructional payroll expenses and scholarship offerings. 1 out of 7 students attend private research universities, which are said to spend the most money per student, but also have the highest tuition rates. Spending on professors and general instruction at these institutions has decreased at a faster rate, compared to spending at community colleges which spend less per student. These community colleges are also trying to offer additional scholarship opportunities to help during the tough economy. By working with local high schools, financial advice and planning has been facilitated if the student continues to the local community college. 

Families are feeling forced to send their Duke or UPenn-eligible student to these community and public colleges, because the cost of tuition is too expensive and offered scholarships aren't enough to cover the expense. There has also been an increase in students staying in-state instead of traveling out-of-state for school, since in-state costs are more reasonable. Parents are also starting to send their kids to two-year colleges instead of four-year, and most students are beginning to pay for more of their own bill if they choose a four-year school instead.

Although families and students feel the pinch of the economy, many are still working to get to college, because they know that the return on investment of a college education is worth it. Sure payments on student loans and higher tuition costs are creating a somewhat dismal landscape for the future, many feel education is a necessity. Some financial aid experts disagree with recent trends, and encourage people to not make the decision between two-year vs. four-year or public vs. private. They say to apply to all your top schools regardless, and who knows, the financial aid or scholarship opportunity might just be there. 

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