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July 2023

"The Truth about College Costs"

Certainly not emphasized in the mainstream media.

The top 100 private schools enroll around 500,000 students, while the remaining 2,600 four-year schools enroll about 10.5 million students. For the latter group of schools, market tuition, excluding room and board, is about $15,000 a year. If we add $10,000 for room and board (more in cities, a little less in small towns), we can see that 96% of American college students pay $25,000 annually for tuition and housing. Right now, with some variation here and there, that is what a four-year college degree costs.

This simple fact is nearly invisible, however, because college prices are distorted by a system that deliberately lists tuition levels much higher than what students pay. 

Cost isn't the only widespread misperception: except for about 100 "top" schools, acceptance rates are probably far higher than people suspect. See AcceptanceRate.com or "College Acceptance Rates for 150 Popular U.S. Schools" for details.