Chart: Real price of college much different than “sticker price”

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The chart above demonstrates how the net price of college, after scholarships, grants, and federal aid, is significantly lower than the “sticker price” advertised by both public and private universities, via NPR.

“The sticker price has gone way up (no surprise). But, because the value of grants and scholarships has also grown, average net price has grown much more slowly. In fact, in the past five years, average net price at private colleges has actually fallen.”

Brad Plumer: “So why don’t these schools just knock the sticker price down to reflect what people end up paying anyway? Wouldn’t that be more transparent? Perhaps, although one theory is that schools are worried that lowering their posted prices would signal a low-quality education to students and families. So they keep raising their sticker price even while doling out more scholarships and financial aid.”

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.