College costs: Expensive reality of higher education

New tools aid students in comparing tuition costs, scholarship amounts

Miami Herald: A new online app called College Abacus is helping college students compare the costs at universities they are considering attending. The app pulls together the information from the online cost calculators on university websites — a tool now required by the federal government. It assists students and their families in deciding which schools are affordable enough without having to visit individual websites. The tool is free and was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

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College cost calculators show elite colleges can be affordable for low-income students

New York Times: Wellesley College, a private liberal arts college in Massachussetts with tuition of more than $40,000, recently released a college cost calculator that proves low-income students would be able to afford going to school there, or to other elite, costly universities such as Harvard or MIT. Because of their endowments, many of these upper-class schools award large scholarships to poor and middle-class students.

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Extravagant facilities, underprepared students affect college costs

Wall Street Journal: More universities across the country are trying to compete with each other by having the best dorms, dining halls, recreation centers and classrooms. All of these fancy buildings, many of which are empty for several months out of the year, come at an increasing cost to students. More students are also having to take remedial classes in college because they’re not prepared enough for the coursework from their high school curriculums. Having to retake classes increases overall tuition costs for students.

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Private vs. public universities: Higher costs don’t mean better education 

Forbes: The success of graduates from public and private universities really depends on the students’ backgrounds and what their personal interests are. This article compiles opinions from students about their decision to attend either a public university or a private college and how the cost of that school affected their decision.

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Room and board often the biggest expense in college

U.S. News and World and Report: Room and board charges increased 2.6 percent over the past decade at public universities and 1.9 percent at private colleges. The total charges for room and board exceeded $10,000 at many universities across the country, but students looking for a cheaper option can check out this list of the top 10 schools with affordable housing options. Topping the list is Northwestern Oklahoma State University, Rust College in Mississippi, and William Carey University, also in Mississippi. These three schools all have room and board costs under $4,100.

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‘Full ride’ scholarships often have hidden costs

Market Watch: Many students who receive complete scholarships from universities are still having to pay underlying costs, showing that the full-ride scholarship doesn’t truly exist at most schools. Some schools say they require students to pay a portion of their fees no matter how wealthy or poor they are or how much scholarship money they are awarded because it makes the student be more invested in their schoolwork. For the past several years, the College Board has actually been recommending colleges charge first-year students a minimum of $1,800 a year and $2,450 for dependent upperclassmen.

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International college costs as expensive as American institutions

Chinese, Korean families go deep into debt trying to afford secondary education

BBC: The amount of money being spent on education in China is increasing to extreme amounts. Families are going deep into debt in an attempt to send their children to the most prestigious universities in the country. Korean families, too, use an average of 70 percent of their incomes to pay for education. Many people blame these economic challenges on the rigorous testing procedures in China and Korea and the amount of pressure put on young people to exceed in difficult and technical professions.

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Australia seeing fewer Asian students study abroad at country’s institutions

CNTV: Australia used to see a large number of Chinese students studying abroad there because of the country’s close proximity to Asia, but with the cost of living in Australia continually increasing, Australian universities are starting to see fewer and fewer Asian students study there. Foreign students pay an average of $42,000 a year to study in Australia, compared to $39,000 in the U.S. and just $33,000 in the United Kingdom.

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U.S. schools gain large profits from increasing numbers of international students

Minnesota Daily: Many U.S. colleges are seeing increasing numbers of international students choosing to study overseas in America. With these international students comes more profit from higher tuition prices, which is why many schools are also choosing to vamp up their overseas recruitment efforts. At the University of Minnesota, especially, the school raked in more than $110 million from international student tuition and fees during the 2011-12 academic year.

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— Links compiled by Cristina Woodworth


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