On campus beat: Colleges downplay sticker prices
- Article by: Maura Lerner
- Star Tribune
- September 11, 2013 - 6:30 PM
That’s the average price of tuition, room and board at Minnesota’s private colleges and universities this year, according to the Minnesota Private College Council.
But college officials insist that’s no reason to panic. In fact, this fall, they launched a new statewide TV and video campaign to try to convince prospective students that they shouldn’t be scared off by sticker prices.
The project, “Paying for College,” makes the argument that you don’t have to be rich to attend college — public or private.
Too many families assume that college is simply out of reach, says Larry Pogemiller, commissioner of Minnesota’s Office of Higher Education, which co-sponsored the project along with the Minnesota Private College Fund. “This television show was created to help them understand that with the right tools, higher education can be affordable,” he said.
Recognizing that the process can be daunting, the series offers advice about applying for financial aid and searching for scholarships and other ways of cutting out-of-pocket costs, sometimes to zero.
The series starts with a half-hour overview and includes 10-minute segments aimed at “first in the family” college students, as well as pieces in Hmong, Somali and Spanish.
The private colleges, in particular, have been eager to bust some myths about cost.
Guess how many private college students in Minnesota get grants or scholarships? (94 percent)
What’s the average net cost for tuition, after financial aid? (Roughly half the sticker price)
And those soaring price tags? After inflation, the average “net tuition” at Minnesota’s private colleges was actually slightly lower in 2011-2012 than seven years earlier, according to the private college council.
Among Minnesota private colleges, Carleton College has the highest tuition and fees ($46,167); Concordia University has the lowest ($19,700).
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