Last Updated May 25, 2010 4:30 PM EDT
I can't afford any college with a high sticker price.
A new study of recent college applicants illustrates just how widespread the sticker price myth is. Fifty nine percent of students said they only looked at college price tags when deciding which schools they should send applications.
According to the Student Poll, which was produced by the College Board and Art & Science Group, a higher-ed consulting firm, only 28% of applicants considered the net cost of college. That's the actual cost that families pay after they receive grants and other financial aid.
While tuition prices have indeed been rising faster than inflation for years, the real cost of college has been dropping because of college grants and to a much lesser extent federal tax benefits.
Here are 2009-2010 figures from the College Board that show the wide gap between published college tuition and actual costs:
Type of College Published Tuition Actual Price
Community colleges......... $2,544 $0
State universities...............$7,020 $1,600
Private colleges..................$26,273 $11,900
According to federal financial aid statistics, 64.4 percent of full-time college students receive college grants.
Here's the bottom line:When you are shopping for colleges, don't initially rule out any college based on the sticker price. Ask a school about what your net cost would be.
College cost image by Stu_Spivak. CC 2.0.