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.”