Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

College One of Most Expensive, Important Outlays for Americans

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

College One of Most Expensive, Important Outlays for Americans

Article excerpt

There's a saying that goes, ``If you think education is expensive, look at the price you pay for ignorance.''

While this is truly a pearl of wisdom, it's a sad fact that a college education is getting more and more expensive. As a matter of fact, tuitions are expected to increase by 6 percent in September.

College tuition now ranks as the most expensive outlay in the average American home. Since 1980, tuitions have been increasing at two times the annual inflation rate, ahead of even medical care!

In 1970, it cost $2,600 to attend Harvard for one year; now it costs $11,390, an increase of 338 percent.

Add to that room and board and all the incidentals of college life, such as books - although today books can hardly be considered incidental - and you've got quite a major expenditure. Students often spend $350 for a semester's worth of books. The average cost of a paperback text can reach $20, and hardcover $30 and up.

Not only is college more expensive, it is increasingly difficult to get accepted, especially at the more prestigious colleges and universities. Nationally, about 17 percent of the 3 million high school seniors applying to college are rejected.

As a result, prospective college freshmen and their parents are, as Shakespeare said in ``The Merchant of Venice,'' resorting to ``treasons, strategems and spoils'' to get accepted. Well, maybe not that desperate, but they are turning to consultants, enrichment programs, books and computer programs to enhance their acceptability. And that costs money, too.

For example, there are now educational consultants who help high school students choose the right courses, extracurricular activities and summer programs. They analyze transcripts and test results (such as the Scholastic Aptitude Test or the ACT test from the American College Testing Program), conduct mock entrance interviews and discuss and critique the entrance essay. Their fees are often $75 an hour and evaluations range from $400 to $1,000 or more. …

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