A hundred thousand? Two hundred? With this year's college application season winding down, there's been another round of scrutiny about how expensive a college education has become. A recent article in the New York Times highlights a couple of studies that try to quantify the costs and benefits of attending the pricier private schools, as the yearly tuition plus cost of living at some selective liberal arts colleges has risen well above $50,000.
Last year the Wall Street Journal also explored the rising costs of higher education. In the article "Rethinking the Costs of Attending an Elite College," the author reports that nearly half the parents surveyed in a 2008 Gallup/Sallie Mae poll said they hadn't ruled out any colleges based on cost, and one parent quoted in the article said her kitchen ceiling was falling in while the family held off on repairs in favor of saving more. Costs at public universities are high too (the annual price tag at many UC campuses is around $30,000).
It's interesting to see the results of these studies, which look solely at dollars and cents, but there's another question we might want to ask: Is a person's salary the best way to measure success? One study mentioned briefly toward the end of the Times piece found that graduates of the most selective colleges tended to be somewhat more dissatisfied with their careers, perhaps because "expectations of elite college graduates ... might have been higher, and thus more subject to disappointment."
What do you think is the most important factor to consider when choosing a college?
Image: Columbia University, Susan NYC/Flickr