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Saturday, November 04, 2006

The price of admission

Are top-tier private colleges worth the price of admission? is the title of an article in today's Boston Globe. Jeff Brown writes:
Last spring, I told a friend about all I'd seen at the Ivies -- and the enormous cost. "What's wrong with Penn State?" I grumbled. "Hey, I'm a big believer in the land-grant universities," he said -- a successful product of one himself.

Sending a kid to a prestigious school is a real accomplishment. But lots of happy and successful people have come out of state schools.

At less than a third the cost, maybe they're a better buy.

The attraction of a top tier college needs to be more than just having a degree from one. The expense of that top tier education is considerable. Trust me. I have two in college and they are in great schools but arguably, they are not in the "top tier". Our bank accounts are thankful for that.
I am satisfied that the girls are where they need to be. They are both challenging themselves in good environments.
You should consider the alternatives. Kathy Sierra wrote about them a year ago:
The conventional wisdom says that the specifics of what you learn are much less important than the fact that you're learning the fundamentals, and you're learning to learn--things you'll need to maintain your skills and knowledge in a quickly changing world.

The problem is, you virtually never hear a student say that. It's always the parents or someone speaking on behalf of the educational system. When was the last time you honestly heard (and believed) an actual current college student claim that the true benefit of their formal college education is in learning to be a lifelong learner?

You can read the full posting here.

I think it is important for the family to have the discussion about college and what it means, to the learning process, to what direction the student is headed, and very importantly to consider the financial aspects. Will some amount of debt be worth the price of admission?
What do you think?
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