Tuesday, December 12, 2006

In Tuition Game, Popularity Rises With Price

Ever wonder why college tuition is so high? The NY Times reports that colleges have discovered that people want to pay more. After Ursinus sharply raised its tuition:
Ursinus received nearly 200 more applications than the year before. Within four years the size of the freshman class had risen 35 percent, to 454 students. Applicants had apparently concluded that if the college cost more, it must be better.
Of course the colleges argue that the students are still getting a bargain:
Take Swarthmore, the elite college half an hour's drive from Ursinus. With an annual budget of $106 million to educate just under 1,500 undergraduates, Swarthmore spends about $73,690 a student. But its tuition, room, board and fees in the last academic year were little more than $41,000.

"The half of our student body whose families are paying the full sticker price are paying $41,000 for something that costs $73,000," said Suzanne P. Welsh, the treasurer. "So they're getting a great discount."
No, it doesn't cost $73k. That just happens to be how much the college spends.

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