Sandy Baum

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.

Media Madness: More Panicky Reporting on College Borrowing

There was more panicky reporting on the subject of student debt last week in the New York Times article, A Generation Hobbled By the Soaring Cost of College, an installation in the newspaper’s Degrees of Debt series that purports to examine the implications of soaring college costs and the indebtedness of students and their families.

As Sandy Baum and Michael McPherson of the Chronicle of Higher Education reportThe New York Times made a huge statistical error in their overwrought article about higher education borrowing on Sunday. They reported that 94 percent of bachelor’s graduates leave college with educational debt. The correct number is around two-thirds. Few people will see the correction tucked into Wednesday’s Times – certainly not nearly the number who saw the lead sentence on the web version “Nearly everyone pursuing a bachelor’s degree is borrowing money …”.

Loans: A roundup of expert advice

For families evaluating their financial aid at this time, here's a roundup of advice from some experts on the role of loans in funding a college education.

Jonathan Burdick, dean of admission and financial aid at the University of Rochester, has an excellent guest post at the College Inc. blog for the Washington Post -- Five steps to a prudent student loan.

For more insight from an expert, check out our own guest post from Jon Boeckenstedt, vice president for Enrollment Policy & Planning at DePaul University for his thoughtful look here at when and where borrowing is worth it.