Some private colleges are advertising price cuts on their full-price tuition - and it's just one way that college is a whole different game for the ultra-wealthy

Some private colleges are advertising price cuts on their full-price tuition - and it's just one way that college is a whole different game for the ultra-wealthy

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Private colleges are slashing tuition prices and decreasing tuition discounts.


College is more expensive than it's ever been.

Tuition has more than doubled since the 1980s. And it's not just affecting the students bearing the weight of student-loan debt - it's also posing a problem for the colleges themselves.

Mostly private liberal arts colleges are at risk of being overlooked by applicants who want more affordable schooling, reported Tara Siegel Bernard for The New York Times. So, these smaller, pricey schools are slashing their tuition prices - but it's reducing their advertised rates, which only the wealthiest students typically pay, she wrote.

In 2017, 12% of freshmen paid full sticker price at private colleges, according to the National Association of College and University Business Officers. The average private-college freshmen received grants to cover 56% of their tuition.


But the same private colleges offering price cuts are also decreasing the discounts they offer to everyone else - so the new sticker price ends up more closely resembling what most students are already paying, Siegel Bernard wrote.

Read more: To compete for top students, colleges have borrowed a tactic retailers have been using for years

On average, one college per year decreased its tuition from 1987 to 2011, but that number jumped to 18 colleges in 2018, Siegel Bernard wrote. In the 2017-2018 school year, she reported, the private Mills College in Oakland, California, cut its tuition from $44,765 to $28,765.

Students in the middle class suffer the most from high college prices, even when discounted, according to Bernard Siegel: They can't afford the full price, but qualify for less need-based aid than lower-income students do. High prices can also lead schools to recruit wealthy students who can afford the full price, taking spots away from applicants who earn less, she added.

It's not the only way colleges are trying to attract students in the face of sky-high tuition. Both private and public colleges are employing a price-match guarantee move - offering to match the cost of tuition of competing universities to incoming students, according to Melissa Korn of The Wall Street Journal.


The ultra-wealthy get a leg up for college early on.

But that's not the only advantage ultra-wealthy kids have when it comes to college.

Their parents start their path to college young, by enrolling them in "Baby Ivies," private preschools and kindergartens that cost around $50,000 a year - if they're accepted, reported Suzanne Woolley and Katya Kazakina for Bloomberg.

For the college admissions process, some rich parents take part in a whole "shadowy" world where they can buy greater chances for their kids to be accepted into elite schools, reported Dana Goldstein and Jack Healy of The New York Times.

According to Goldstein and Healy, that includes paying up to $1.5 million for a five-year package of college admissions or making donations to schools that exceed $10 million - all of which is legal.

Read more: College is more expensive than it's ever been, and the 5 reasons why suggest it's only going to get worse


But some parents go to more extreme, illegal cases - consider the recent college admissions scandal, in which 33 parents were accused of paying a collective $25 million dollars to fabricate their children's credentials during the college admissions process in hopes of getting them accepted to elite schools.

Meanwhile, student-loan debt continues to get more crushing for the middle- and lower-class students who won't benefit from the price cuts. The national total student debt is over $1.5 trillion and the average student loan debt per graduating student in 2018 who took out loans is $29,800, according to Student Loan Hero.

Read the full article at The New York Times »