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  • Writer's pictureBeth & Tim Manners

The College Cost v. Quality Conundrum

Forbes: "It turns out the cost of a college does not predict higher alumni ratings about the quality of their education," according to a study published in The Journal of Consumer Affairs. "In fact, the opposite is true: total cost of attendance predicts lower ratings ... The good news is there are a lot of high quality, affordably priced higher education options out there. As a consumer, it may not be very easy to discern which colleges and universities represent this value – but students and parents will surely get wiser in figuring it out."

"Extensive research about the drivers of quality in higher education point to “how you do college” more so than “where you go” – and include critical experiences such as feeling the professors cared about you as a person, having a mentor who encouraged your goals and dreams, being able to apply what you’re learning to an internship or job and working on a long-term project. Students and parents should look for colleges and universities where relationship-rich and work-integrated education is a strong and highly visible part of the culture."

"This research does not suggest that every higher priced college suffers from lower alumni ratings. There are certainly examples of more expensive institutions that deliver a high quality experience with highly satisfied alumni. But they’re more of an exception than the norm ... No one needs to get worked up over trying to stretch their finances and plunge deeper into debt to reach for that pricier college just because we have always believed it is better."

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