Helping families get past the sticker shock and discover what they might actually pay for college – When many people see the college price tag, they believe it’s financially out of reach. But Wellesley College Professor Phillip Levine, who studies college affordability, says that people often don’t realize there’s a difference between the price of college and the true amount a family might actually pay. Through the development of MyinTuition.org — an online tool that helps families uncover the actual cost — he hopes more students will achieve their college dreams.
The cost of college is a notoriously complex subject. The list price at many private colleges, including tuition, fees, room and board, has reached the bewildering sum of $70,000 a year. But the real price, taking into account financial aid, is often vastly lower. How much lower? We’re here to help answer that question.
More than 30 top colleges now participate in a simple online calculator that provides cost estimates to families. (And those 30 typically charge similar prices to other selective colleges.) The New York Times has analyzed the data from the calculator and is publishing the results here. It’s a snapshot of what college really costs.
How much would you say it costs to attend a top private college like Dartmouth or Pomona for one year? I’m guessing that the first number that pops into your mind is quite large, like $60,000.For most Americans, that’s the wrong answer — and it’s wrong by a lot. The list-price tuition at these college does indeed run so high, but just a small slice of the population pays the list price. Typically, only families earning at least $200,000 a year fail to qualify for financial aid. For families with middle-class incomes, highly selective colleges are much, much less expensive.
Calculating college costs can be utterly baffling. Phillip B. Levine, an economics professor at Wellesley College, argues that every school should offer a simplified financial aid calculator — or risk losing talented low-income prospects.