The Difficulty of Standardizing Cost Information for Students

"Buying a Refrigerator, Choosing A College" Don't miss this thought-provoking article by Sandy Baum and Michael McPherson of the Chronicle of Higher Education on the difficulty of providing clearer, more standardized information to prospective students about the potential cost of their college degrees. "College pricing is complicated," the authors note. That is the strength and the drawback of higher education in the United States.  There are more than 2,600 four-year colleges and universities in the United States and they are all different in everything from their curriculums, missions and financing to their football teams and tastiness of the food service. Choosing a college is an exercise in finding the right personal fit. So how can students and families expect a one-size-fits-all ingredient label when it comes to cost? That diversity in cost and financing at a college -- like the diversity in engineering programs or arts opportunities from campus to campus -- creates both opportunities and risks for students looking for the right fit. As the authors note, "We can’t give up on providing better information for prospective students. But we can’t satisfy ourselves with the idea that there is a simple set of numbers that will allow people to make wise decisions." Read the entire article here.

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