November 23, 2014


I attended the University of Tennessee in Knoxville from 1961 to 1965.  My grandkids call this the dark ages and maybe they are correct.  After graduation, I was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the US Air Force and took a break from the “formalized” version of education.  There were seminars and short courses paid for by the Air Force and the company I worked for upon being discharged. Until my wife and I had children, I never really thought about the cost of higher education even though I contributed to my on for tuition, books, room and board, etc.  One son in Mercer, one in Tulane and one at the University of Georgia.  All on scholarship-but not a full ride.  The two oldest boys in at the same time.  It was a definite struggle. Two parents—two jobs and with me working a part-time job in the evenings for a consulting engineering firm.  Well you may as well as hold on to your hat.

According to the College Board, the average cost of tuition for a private school is $30,094-tuition only.  The average cost of tuition for public out of state schools is $22,203.  The average cost for public school tuition, in state is $8,893.  To me, this is astounding.  Higher education has far exceeded any cost of living numbers and generally increases between five and fifteen percent per year.

CBS conducted a study of the twenty most expensive schools in our country.  I was blown away.  The figures below are for tuition and room and board.  Take a look.

  • Sarah Lawrence                –$61,236
  • New York University–$59,837
  • Harvey Mudd–$58,913
  • Columbia University–$58,747
  • Wesleyan University–$58,202
  • Claremont McKenna–$58,065
  • Dartmouth College–$57,996
  • Drexel University–$57,975
  • University of Chicago–$57,711
  • Bard College–$57,580
  • Trinity College–$57,530
  • Eugene Lang College–$57,340
  • Johns Hopkins–$57,320
  • Barnard College–$57,312
  • Pitzer College–$57,266
  • Bates College–$57,235
  • Fordham University–$57,188
  • Northwestern University–$57,108
  • Fordham College at Rosehill–$57,106
  • Carnegie Mellon—$57,104

I’ll let you do the math relative to the cost for a four year education. Oh, by the way, most students do NOT graduate in four years.  The College Board considers graduating on time to be at or under six years.  In my opinion, one reason for the high cost of education is not the “book learning” itself; it’s the amenities that students require prior to making a decision.  If the dorm is merely Holiday Inn instead of the Waldorf Astoria, I’m not going.  How about the student center?  It better have an Olympic size swimming pool, a spa, a lounge, pool tables in the rec room, tanning beds, etc.  You get the picture. Going to class to some is definitely an afterthought.

One thing you do get from the extremely high priced colleges and universities are the all-important contacts; networking.  You establish associations that will help you up the ladder when and if needed.  It’s the ‘ol-boy network in place early in life.  That’s basically true for all colleges and universities if done well but definitely at a higher level for an exclusive private university.  I’ll let you decide if it’s worth it or not.

As always, I welcome your comments.


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