Prepping for College Tuition: Ron Lieber (NYT Columnist) Pulls Back the Curtain on How Schools Set Tuition Prices
- Written by Will from Holland
- Category: Articles
Can you justify paying $300k for your kids' college tuition? How about $125k? Does paying an extra $50,000 or $150,000 for one school over another make sense?
When does paying an extra $50,000 or $150,000 for one school over another make sense?
In all his years of writing about money, Ron Lieber—New York Times and Wall Street Journal Columnist—has come across no consumer decision that inspires more confusion and emotion than the question of what to pay for college.
Sticker prices at flagship state universities can now top $125,000 for four years of tuition, room and board for state residents. At many selective private colleges, students who began this past fall will pay $300,000. Discounts are available, but the financial aid system that governs them works differently at different schools and can be wildly unpredictable.
Once you have offers of admission and aid, you have to make a decision about value. When does paying an extra $50,000 or $150,000 for one school over another make sense? For a smaller or larger size? For access to professors or guaranteed internships? For an alumni network that is quantifiably stronger than others? And in considering all these questions as parents, how do we reckon with the guilt, fear, aspiration and snobbery that inevitably invade our minds in the process?
In his book, the culmination of 15 years of personal finance reporting for The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, Ron asks college presidents questions that families don't know (or are afraid) to ask, puts the surprisingly small amount of existing data on this topic into context, summarizes the research that does exist about what matters and what doesn't, and pulls the curtain back on how schools set tuition prices.
Thanks, as always, for joining Ron on his quest.
(Pre-) Order Ron's book now and find (financial) peace of mind before you send your kids off to college.