Shopping for an Inexpensive Education
by L. R., Marblehead, MA
Good schools cheap. With college tuition rising much faster than inflation, people today do not have the money to send their children to the most expensive colleges. Cheap is what they want! Many people don't look hard enough for a good school with a good price, and they end up sending their children to schools with tuitions over $20,000. If one looks hard enough, s/he will find that there are many quality, inexpensive large state universities, small liberal arts schools, and scientific and technical schools.
The most common less expensive schools that have good reputations are state universities. Although many people think that if one doesn't live in the state, the tuition for the university will be very high, this is not true. One can probably get the best deal if s/he goes to a good state university. In a survey taken by Money Magazine, out of the top ten best college buys, five were state universities. The college in second place, Rice University, costs only $9,650 a year, and 80% of the students receive financial aid. In an article in U.S. News, called "America's Best Colleges," Rice University was rated at number 14 for the best national universities. Even though some people say that they don't want to go so far away from home, sometimes the best deals come from universities that are across the country.
For the students who don't want such a large college, there are also many cheap, small liberal arts colleges. Hanover College in southeastern Indiana is one. Hanover College gives its students a quality education, and its tuition is a mere $8,000. The number one college in the survey of the top ten best college buys in America was also a small liberal arts college, called New College of the University of South Florida. This college is for students who really want a small school because it only has 500 undergraduates. New College's tuition is only about $8,000.
There are even good deals for students who want to go to a scientific or technical school. California Institute of Technology ranked number five on the survey, even though the tuition is not nearly as cheap as the other top ten. Although the expenses for Caltech are about $16,000, it is a good deal considering the competitiveness of the school. The average SAT score of the entering class of 1992 was 1413 and Caltech boasts that "of all the distinguished universities, Caltech admits the fewest freshmen." Caltech also ranked number five in the best national university survey, over Stanford, Duke, and Dartmouth. Some other great deals in technical educations are Georgia Tech and New Mexico Tech.
When a person begins looking for a college, the tuitions all seem outrageously expensive. The best thing to do is to shop around and look for a cheap school that also gives a quality education. Although it may take time, there are schools out there that only cost $10,000 and have 75% of their undergraduates graduating in the top 10% of their high school class. Whether it's a university, liberal arts college, or technical school one is looking for, s/he can find one that is a good school, cheap.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.