Despite reports that the price of a college education is increasing, the actual cost of attending college may not be as severe as some might think, according to The New York Times.
Judith Scott-Clayton, a professor at Columbia University, claims that the net rate of tuition – the cost of attending college after loans, grants and scholarships have been deducted – is typically less than half the advertised price at private nonprofit four-year colleges, and less than one-third of the cost listed by public four-year colleges.
"The average full-time undergraduate now receives about $6,500 annually in grant aid and nearly $1,000 in tax-based aid to help defray tuition and fees," Scott-Clayton writes. "Only about one-third of full-time students pay the published sticker price, and even this third may receive significant tuition tax credits that lower the effective cost."
According to a study that was conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research, some parents overestimated the rate of tuition at community colleges by more than 300 percent. Some speculate that this is because of the complexity of the financial aid system, and widespread media attention on published increases in tuition fees.