“That will be $83 for the showing of Intro to International Studies day one,” says the college box office attendant inside my mind as I imagine myself entering one of my future classes at the University of Denver.
This isn’t robbery, I’ve done the math: for about 150 days of classes at about $37,000 per year (just in full-price tuition, not including fees or housing) that means that everyday that I go (or don’t go) to class it should cost me more than $250.
Why are private universities so expensive? How can people even afford to go?
Most people, including myself, have problems justifying seeing a $12 movie, let alone paying so much for classes. At least at the movies, I am mostly entranced and entertained. I admit that not all classes are thrilling. Look through your own notebooks, do you see any doodles in the margins? Exactly what I mean. And as much as I love to doodle, I don’t want to pay over $80 per class to do it!
Somehow private universities get students to pay and go to their schools.
Their secret is that nobody really pays full price. Private universities know that nobody would be able to go if they didn’t reduce their prices.
Granted, most people still pay more than public universities, but usually the difference isn’t as large as you’d think. Private universities know that they need to give students incentive to go to their school instead of public universities, so they’re quite competitive in pricing.
If your education isn’t something you’re willing to cut corners on, especially as state funded schools get bigger while their budgets get smaller, it might be worth it for you to apply to private universities.
First, you need to know that private universities give out a lot of money in merit scholarships. Way more than public universities ever could afford. More students than not get merit scholarships. Chances are, if you’ve good enough grades to get into a private university, then you have good enough grades to get a scholarship from one.
Second, all federal financial aid money that you can receive for public universities (grants, work-study, subsidized and unsubsidized loans) is also available for private universities. Your family won’t be paying more than the government thinks that they can afford, no matter where you go.
Third, transfer students and Running Start students can transfer their community college classes to a lot of private universities. Most private universities can go through your transcript and tell you class by class what you can transfer, and possibly waive or fulfill your general education classes.
You could start at a private university with two years of credits. Just make sure to stay in contact with private university’s transfer evaluators and admission councilors. Certain departments may evaluate some of your classes and count them towards your major if you give them a copy of the class syllabus and they have an equivalent class.
This process can be messy, but it is worth your time and effort because the classes that you come in with are all worth money. The more classes you can transfer, the more “discount” you can get off of your bachelor’s degree.
Don’t let that dream school pass you by because you were stuck with your jaw open over the cost of their tuition. Do well in school, apply early, see what they offer you in merit scholarships, apply for financial aid and get your private education.
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