First of all, neither this post, nor any other post in this blog, is meant to question the quality of education received at any school. What I am questioning in this post is the value of that private college education. Here are some averages for tuition and fees per year at different types of institutions, from The College Board for 2010:
Two-year institution – $2,713
Four-year public institution, in-state – $7,605
Four-year public institution, in-state – $11,990
Four-year private institution – $27,293
If you attend a private school versus a four-year in-state school offering the same degree, do you really think that the value of your education is $80,000 better just because it came from a private school? More importantly, will your degree from that school be worth that much more, or worth any more, in the marketplace than one from the public school? While private schools are a lot more liberal with their financial assistance offerings, it is unlikely that you will be awarded a scholarship to cover full tuition; even if they cover $20,000 per year, you’re still just breaking even on what you’d pay at a public school.
Think hard about this when weighing college choices. The environment that surrounds you at the lovely little private school may not be worth the added expense.