The Physics
Factbook
An encyclopedia of scientific essays

Price of a College Education

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Result
Colleges and Universities. Encarta Encyclopedia, Online Edition, 2004. "In the United States, the average tuition with room and board at a four-year public college for in-state residents during the 1978-1979 academic year was $1,994. By the 1996-1997 school year, the figure had reached $7,331. At private four-year schools, tuition, room, and board nationwide increased from an average of $4,514 to an average of $18,476. In Canada, the cost of higher education varies significantly from one province to another. In the 1996-1997 academic year tuition fees (without room and board) at four-year institutions ranged from $1,170 in Quebec to more than $2,800 in Nova Scotia. Tuition fees at private four-year colleges and universities in Canada range from about $2,800 to $5,700." $1,994โ€“$18,476
(per year)
Davis, Herm Dr. and Kennedy, Joyce Lain. College Financial Aid For Dummies: 2nd Edition, IDG Books Worldwide: 1999. "Projected Sample College Costs in 2000-2001
Total- $12,512 $10,400 $26,041 $22,554"
$10,400โ€“$26,041
(per year)
2003-2004 College Costs Keep Rising Prices in Perspective. College Board.
Average College Costs 2003-2004
Four-year private $19,710 (up 6 percent from last year)
Four-year public $4,694 (up 14.1 percent from last year)
Two-year public $1,905 (up 13.8 percent from last year)
$1,905โ€“$19,710
(per year)
Office of Student Financial Services. Georgetown University.
Item Cost
Full-Time Tuition
Yates Fee
Average Class Fees
Activity Fee
Average Room & Board*
Average Books
Average Personal Expenses
Average Travel
TOTAL
$29,808
255
175
100
10,154
960
1,478
410
$43,340
$43,340

Stephanie is a high school senior, who is accepted to both Boston College and Yale University. Although she is accepted to both, she cannot go to either. The tuition for Yale is $39,520 and $37,147 for Boston College, which are both too expensive and neither school is providing her with adequate financial aid packets. Currently, this scenario has become very common because the price of tuition is increasing faster than many may think.

Currently, the tuition for a public, four-year college ranges from $21,000-$30,000 annually. On the other other hand, a private, four-year tuition ranges from $35,000-$45,000. Why is the cost of college increasing? The Encarta Encyclopedia says that most public institutions have raised tuition rates to compensate for the loss of funds. Meanwhile, both public and private colleges have had to meet increased expenditures for faculty and staff salaries, construction, and general operations. Since private institutions in the United States do not receive public funds, they generally charge students higher tuition and fees compared to public institutions.

Are people really expected to pay this much? Although tuition is increasing, scholarships, financial aid, and grants are available to help bring down the cost of tuition as well as decrease the amount you may end up paying back for loans. Most states have formed programs that enables students and their families to pay for college costs in advance by purchasing tax-exempt bonds and special contracts. Aid is given based on financial need, merit, or a loan that must be paid back in the future. Statistics from the College Board shows that about 29% of students attending four-year colleges pay less than $4,000 for tuition and fees per year. Almost 79% of students attending four-year colleges pay less than $8,000 for tuition and fees per year.

After hearing about these costly higher education institutions, you are probably wondering is it all worth the price? Do you want to be stuck paying student loans after you have completed your tenure? Well, keep in mind that according to the US Bureau of Statistics, people with a bachelor's degree earn over 60% more money on average than those with only a high school diploma. Also, over a lifetime, the gap in earning potential between people with a bachelor's degree or higher compared to those with only a high school diploma is more than $1,000,000.

Chrisana White -- 2004