22nd Sep, 2010 | Source : Council of Independent Colleges
The high quality of education at a nonprofit, independent college is more affordable than most people think. Look at the facts:
- 84 percent of full-time students at independent colleges and universities receive financial aid, with three-quarters of that is grant aid coming from the colleges themselves, not government grants.
- That adds up to four times as much grant assistance from independent colleges as the federal government provides.
- At state universities, only one-fourth of students receive aid from the institution.
- The average tuition that students actually pay at independent colleges has declined over the past decade, after adjusting for grant aid and inflation.
While private colleges often come with a bigger tuition “sticker price” than state universities or for-profit colleges, independent colleges and universities are affordable to all because of the availability of significant financial aid.
The total cost of a college degree depends on more than the tuition charge, of course. The time it takes to earn an undergraduate degree is another important consideration. Graduates of independent colleges are much more likely than others to complete their degree in four years, which means fewer years of paying tuition, a quicker start at earning a salary, and more years over a lifetime to earn. In fact, 79 percent of students at private colleges and universities complete their bachelor’s degree in four years or less, compared with 49 percent of graduates of state universities. When factoring in tuition costs after financial aid and potential wages lost, the net cost for a student who takes six years to graduate at a state university is actually greater than for a student at a private college who graduates in four years. Careful comparisons of college costs can help families and students make better informed decisions about financing a college education.
Looking back at their college education, those who graduate from private colleges and universities are more likely to say that the cost was worth it. In fact, nine out of ten private college graduates surveyed said the financial investment they made in their college education was worth it. Even among those who took out loans, 94 percent said that they were a good investment. Given the importance of a college degree in today’s economy, students and their parents are wise to invest in an education that is worthwhile, both academically and financially.
Choosing a college should not, however, rest solely on financial considerations. There are approximately 650 independent colleges and universities in the U.S., representing diverse approaches to college—liberal arts colleges, men’s and women’s colleges, historically Black colleges, “great books” colleges, “work” colleges, and colleges affiliated with every religious denomination and many that are secular. These independent colleges emphasize effective teaching and learning, and student engagement. Faculty members spend a great deal of time with teaching and advising students and take great pride in their students’ academic progress. All of that adds up to great value.