Affordability & Academic Excellence
Joe Marcus's article in The Boston Globe (2008, Oct. 5. Up, Up, and Away!) addresses the rising cost of tuition at private colleges and universities. With emotional families willing to invest in the highest possible level of academic prestige, Marcus predicts that costs will continue to rise. He may be right, but the elite colleges to which he refers are a small segment of a much larger picture.
Figures provided by the College Board on 2008-2009 college prices indicate that only 9 percent of all students attend colleges with annual tuition totaling $33,000 or higher. Among students enrolled at four-year colleges or universities, 56 percent attend institutions that charge tuition and fees of less than $9,000 per year. That percentage may increase as families impacted by the slumping economy reconsider application to the more expensive private institutions and search for value elsewhere.
Families searching for value are likely to focus less on prestige factors. Of greater importance will be matching student interests and aspirations with the educational opportunities offered by those institutions that meet their financial criteria. Public colleges and universities, including MCLA, are likely to be among the beneficiaries of such a shift. The institutions that stand to benefit most are those that articulate and live up to the promise of a positive correlation between affordability and academic excellence.