Paying for College

College Costs: Myths and Nostalgia

If you had to bet on what is the area of most concern about college these days, on what issue would you place your money? The difficulty of getting into a “competitive" school? Drinking and drugs? Lascivious behaviors? Well, my title above probably allows the horses to escape from the barn. It's college costs. Families everywhere are torn between the anticipation of their progeny getting into a good (even “great") school and the reality of having to pay for it. The concept of investing (a.k.a. “shelling out") a quarter-million bucks for an undergraduate degree can sober up any dreams of prestige pretty darn fast. I'm not even mentioning the likely reality of significant-to-massive loan debt for the young collegian.

Since about-to-be college families will have to wrestle with these financial factors, I thought it might help to take a look through both ends of the telescope, so to speak. Taking a peek into the present, I thought it might be prudent to examine some misconceptions about college costs. A quick search located a helpful article that claims to explode some common myths about paying for college. The other end of the telescope allows us to gaze into the past, for an almost unbelievable glimpse of what higher education–even at the highest levels–cost a half-century ago. Playing “Remember When?" can be fun, but it can also prove to be frustrating. Most importantly, it can help us detect macro-trends. Unfortunately, the main macro-trend these days when it comes to college costs is not a positive one.

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