We all know community college is a budget-friendly alternative to most four-year colleges… but what about some colleges being a budget-friendly alternative to… other colleges?
When you're staring down the barrel of student loans or earning money for college, the question becomes a lot more interesting: Why do some colleges cost tons, and others cost less, when sometimes they offer the same majors and programs? Let’s look at the different things that affect tuition rates:
Public or Private Can Vary the Cost of College
The first, most obvious stop is between public or private schools. Public schools meet certain requirements to accept government funds, thereby subsidizing the enrollment costs. Therefore, public schools are often less expensive than private schools (and the same goes for lower levels of education, like high school and middle school).
Hiring More Published and Experienced Faculty Increases Tuition
One of the major costs behind running a university is finding, hiring, and keeping the professors and adjunct professors that attract students. The more prestigious a scholar is (which usually translates into how often and in which publications they are published), the more the scholar will expect to be paid in cash and benefits -- one of those benefits being the prestige of the school.
Location, Location, Location
Location is another important factor when calculating prices like enrollment and cost of living. Whether your school is on the East Coast or the West Coast of your country, in a rural area, or a metropolitan area, not to mention if it’s in the US, UK, Canada, or elsewhere, all of these factors will have an impact on the price tag.
What Fields of Study Are Offered
The more profitable the school of study (or the more likely a field’s students are to get a high-paying job) the more universities can charge for enrollment. A school well known for IT and Graphic Design might charge more than, say, a school well-known for sociology or geology. However, it’s important to note that sometimes high-paying majors subsidies for low-paying ones, which let’s schools promote how well-rounded their curriculums are.
How Good Are Their Sports Teams?
Maybe (hopefully?) this is exclusive to the US, but schools with good sports team also command a higher price tag. Which, to me, makes less sense -- you’d think the sports team could subsidize the price to make the school charge less to students, but it seems to have the opposite effect: the more popular the sports team, the higher the demand, and up flies the price.
Any more ideas on what makes the cost of college vary so much? Leave a note in the comments!