Parents, Run: Colleges Are Going to Reach Six-Figure Price Tags Soon

Since this past spring’s college admissions scandal came to light, Ivy league schools and selective colleges have been more closely monitored and scrutinized across the boards. And with wealthy parents spending thousands of dollars to bribe their kids’ way into elite colleges and universities and paying upwards of $75k a year on tuition, it’s no wonder college admissions rates have dropped according to The Atlantic and costs have increased according to a study by The Chronicle of Higher Education. And now, as The Atlantic reports, students can expect tuition at selective colleges to reach a whopping six figures. 

In a new analysis by The Hechinger Report, researchers predict that the University of Chicago will be the first college in America to reach $100,000 per year by 2025. Even now, the university’s $80,300 annual price tag is mind-boggling. Likely, other elite colleges — such as California’s Harvey Mudd College, New York City’s Columbia University, and Texas’ Southern Methodist University — will follow suit.

How in the world did we get to a place where a prestigious education (um, let’s not forget that Steve Jobs didn’t even graduate) can only benefit the rich and famous?

“The [colleges] that are expensive are the ones that students want to apply to,” explains the Seton Hall University professor Robert Kelchen, who studies higher-education finance. “Being expensive is seen as being good — if one college is 20 percent cheaper than another college, students are going to wonder what’s wrong with it.” Colleges are like any business model. Consumers, we know you can relate. When a skincare product is more expensive, you assume it’ll do wonders for your complexion whereas a cheap no-name brand drugstore product can’t possibly compete.

Thankfully, though, the analysis reported that fewer than half (42%) of students actually pay the full price tag at The University of Chicago. Students with a family income below $75,000 are paying roughly $5,200 per year on average. Even wealthier families who make at least $110,000 receive some sort of tuition assistance. So, if your child is thinking of attending a cost-prohibitive school with a larger-than-life price tag, don’t let it completely scare them off from applying. 

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