Tuesday, November 03, 2009

College Tuition Sticker Shock: $50k Is New Normal

Chronicle for Higher Education -- For the nation's elite private colleges, $50,000 is fast becoming the new normal. Fifty-eight private colleges now charge at least that much for tuition, fees, room, and board, a Chronicle analysis of College Board data shows (see chart above of the top 15). Last year only five colleges did.

Six years ago, only two colleges set their tuition, fees, room, and board above $40,000, according to a Chronicle analysis of unranked data provided by the College Board. This year, the analysis shows, 224 are above that mark.

Generous aid packages on some campuses mean that many students pay far less than those prices, which do not include textbooks and travel expenses. But a number of students do pay full freight.

The Chronicle analyzed College Board data to calculate the average grant offered in 2008-9 by 42 colleges whose list price for tuition, fees, room, and board was more than $50,000 this year. Among the 42, the average grant per full-time student was just over $13,000. That means that the average bill last year for tuition, fees, room, and board, after grants, was about $36,000.

According to the College Board, tuition, fees, room, and board at private nonprofit four-year institutions increased 4.3 percent this year, to an average of $35,636. At public four-year institutions, average in-state list prices increased 5.9 percent, to $15,213, while out-of-state prices increased 6.0 percent, to $26,741.


At 11/03/2009 9:40 AM, Blogger BMWright said...

Another great American scam plan. Charge students twice as much money; make it easy to go into life long debt so the University gets the cash upfront with no-risk while the kids are lucky to get a $21,000 Job. Next, triple your staff of slave labor adjunct Professors while the high paid Profs have low paid Grad. students teach their classes. Next, hire more 6-figure fund raiser administrators and then cry to the Alumni about how the poor university needs more money!

It's about time America outsourced University Administration jobs to China and India. Surely the union tenured Professors touting the benefits of Globalization and Free-Trade would agree.

At 11/03/2009 10:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Plumbing school is starting to sound better everyday.

At 11/03/2009 10:36 AM, Anonymous morganovich said...


you are totally wrong about that. this is the result of scholarships, pure and simple. the more you give out, the more that people who can actually pay have to pay. it's a stupid hobbesian dilemma where schools compete with one another by offering more scholarships the net result of which is that they all become much more unaffordable.

this exact same trend is occurring in the high end private high school market. i'm still very involved with my old high school, and while tuition has gone from $15k to $40k since 1990, it's not going to teachers or adjuncts or administrators. it's nearly all going to scholarships.

the same is true at universities. (mine has gone from $25k to $55k) sure, they waste money other places, but it's simply not enough to drive this kind of inflation. it's the scholarships.

this has the twisted net result of barbelling the student populations: only the very rich and very poor can go. the middle class is shut out because they are too well off to get much aid but too poor to pay the full tuition. try sending 2 kids to a $40k/year school on a $100k salary.

the fact is, they would all be much better off if they could stop this behavior, but so long as on is willing to compete by offering scholarships, everyone has to despite being a dead weight loss to the system as a whole.

alas, like attempting to moderate any sort of prisoner's dilemma, there's not much that you can do about it.

At 11/03/2009 10:46 AM, Anonymous Benny "Tell It LIke It Is Man" Cole said...

These are private-sector colleges at the top of the list. This is what people are willing to pay.
It is not a democratic system.

It does seem that a non-nonsense, high-quality college would emerge for middle-class people, shorn of administrative overhead and stadiums etc.
A simply-built campus on cheap land outside a low-cost city in the Midwest.

Maybe Dr, Perry, who lionizes the free market system (from the safe confines of the University of Michigan, and its comprehensive pension and health benefits) can be induced to invest some of his own capital and put his career into a a new start-up: Plebian University, where a private, high-quality education is available to the middle class.

Will Dr. Perry truly embrace the free enterprise system, not in word, but in deed?

We are waiting....and waiting....waiting.....see you later..............

At 11/03/2009 11:25 AM, Anonymous gettingrational said...

I did not know of Landmark College before reading the list. It is one of the few colleges designed for students with learning disabilities such as dyslexia and AD/HD. They offer only two year degrees as transfer vehicles to a four school.

"Landmark College's tuition and fees may qualify as a medical deduction" In addition there are many scholarship and state sponsored programs for people with learning disabilities available.

At 11/03/2009 12:33 PM, Blogger juandos said...

What's the deal here?

Can't the Commie in Chief find even one more czar to oversee these excessive tuition fees?

At 11/03/2009 12:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like Prof. Perry will be taking a pay cut if students can't afford, or make a living from, their college education.

At 11/03/2009 1:58 PM, Anonymous Chris said...

Peter Schiff explains all:

At 11/03/2009 2:06 PM, Blogger S.S. said...

Looks like Benny Cole has never been to Flint before. If he ever does visit, he'll see how small his comment makes him look. Perry is working in the trenches in a place that desperately needs people of his caliber.

At 11/03/2009 4:46 PM, Anonymous Benny Tell It Like It Is Man said...

Indeed, I have never been to Flint.
I am sure Dr. Perry makes a contribution there, and I avidly read his blog and commentary.
I am suggesting Dr. Perry could make a bigger contribution to Michigan by embracing what he preaches. Obviously, there is a need for private, low-cost, high-quality college education.
Can Michigan anymore afford expensive public universities?
Can Dr. Perry start a private university, and thus help reduce the tax burden on Michigan businesses?
In this day and age (and considering the Internet) what is the justification for taking people's money for public universities?
Does Dr. Perry have a point of view?
Or, are public universities an exception, and worthly aberrations on the free market landscape? If they are a worthy aberration, then others can claim other worthy aberrations.

At 11/03/2009 5:11 PM, Blogger QT said...


Although these costs are horrendously high, I've got one even more sickening.

I know of a school for the developmental challenged which had per annual pupil costs of $100,000 CDN. This cost was over 10 times the average per pupil cost in the district largely due to the expansion of staff...at one point each child had a handler and the staff outnumbered the students. By contrast, nurse to patient ratio in a hospital is about 1:4 at the optimum (about 1:13 in most nursing homes). Please note that unlike the university tuition, this cost did not include room & board.

Chances are pretty good that university tuition is far from being a "great American scam" because the costs are transparent and known...where the costs are oblique is where the real scams are.

At 11/03/2009 5:17 PM, Blogger QT said...


Why is Dr. Perry's mission in life to solve all the social ills of Michigan or to deliver on whatever solution you deem to be required? To believe that he would have to be a misguided socialist or a woman...neither would appear likely or even seemly.

The monkey is your pet not his.

At 11/03/2009 5:18 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Can Dr. Perry start a private university, and thus help reduce the tax burden on Michigan businesses?"...

Can't pseudo Benny start a private university using HIS money?

There's a niche market you could fill Benny and probably make some serious jack doing it...

"Or, are public universities an exception, and worthly aberrations on the free market landscape?"...

No one is forcing anyone to go to an expensive post high school facility...

Demand is driving price or is it?

Community college (partially financed by taxing the productive citizens) will fill the bill for many folks and is usually a very good stepping stone to further education...

What I wonder is just how many outside forces affect the tuition rates?

Liability insurance?

Facilities maintainence?

The cost of NON teachers?

Why aren't universities run more like a business? Can they be?

What drives the price of tuition besides the actual schooling?

At 11/03/2009 6:39 PM, Anonymous Dr. T said...

BMWright clearly understands universities. It's the same at state universities; they're just starting from lower charges.

Morganovich blames increasing scholarships, but the scholarships are just enablers; they're not the cause. No university administration is forced to raise charges by three times the CPI just because more scholarships are available. They raise university charges just because they can, and they have done so in years when scholarship money didn't increase.

At 11/03/2009 10:30 PM, Blogger BMWright said...

Dr. Perry / posters.

Just to be clear. My comments have nothing to do with you. You are providing free education and allowing us to comment. I've been making these comments for years about the University System and the non-teaching Administration arms race build up and tenured professors who are anti-union and anti-american labor. My own family just wants me to pay-up and shut-up.

But I'd bet you're chucking and nodding your head alittle regarding my point on Adjunct Professors and Administrators. You can bet Gordon Gee's not going to ask me to speak on this topic at OSU.

Dr. T, thanks, my parents requiring I pay for my college degrees combined with the fact I had no fun in college and was a boring Beta Alpha Psi, may have left me jaded on this topic. Still, it sounds like you've been study the University marketing manual too.

"scholarships are just enablers". and "the more you give out, the more that people who can actually pay have to pay." I'd say both are true.

A conservative may also feel there's some social engineering and wealth transfer going on too.


Given your new photo, I'd agree with anything you say.

I'm just a poor blue collar public school MBA fom Michigan trying (on occasion) to live up to the 60's civil rights movement of calling out a few modern day issues needing attention. A man with a flag.

Yes, maybe SCAM was to harsh but "the costs are transparent" is a little to polite for what I'm talking about. Purhaps I should have said The Great America University Sales Pitch or The University Bubble.

At 11/04/2009 8:35 AM, Blogger Free2Choose said...

The monkey is your pet not his



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