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The Price of a College Education

Understanding the Tuition and ‘Fees’ at a Higher Institution

default article imageToday’s economy has most students and their families constantly stalking their checkbooks. With the already suffering economic conditions in the United States, a college education only puts more financial stress on families and individuals. This can make us take a step back and wonder where our college tuition is really going.

Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management and Director of Financial Aid, Claire Alasio, said that the University’s tuition goes to “anything you see happening on campus. Classes, any events you see going on, building maintenance, faculty salary…Everything has a cost.”

Many students agree with this statement, though from a different perspective. We look at only the college expenses that pertain to us.

Alyssa Gray, a freshman, said that as a commuter, most of her money goes to food and gas.

Chris Orlando, a freshman, said, “The largest expense, aside from tuition, is my textbooks. Food and school events are some of my other large expenses.”

These expenses, however, apply to any university student. Alasio said that in her opinion, Monmouth is priced fairly.

“You have to consider that Monmouth is private, meaning not funded through tax payers,” she said. “There are 14 private schools in New Jersey. I would say we’re in the lower third when it comes to comparing tuition prices.” Alasio adds that in the 15 years she has been at Monmouth, this year was the first year that she has seen an annual tuition increase of more than five percent.

Even so, we are only at an estimated seven percent increase from last year while other New Jersey private schools are at double digit increases. Tuition increases, said Alasio, come with the cost of doing business.

According to Alasio, the process of deciding which college or university to attend is based on net price, which is what is the student’s tuition is at each school after all grants and scholarships have been awarded.

“I want students to make an informed choice,” she said. The point that she most emphasized is the value of an education. “It’s a lot like buying a car. You can spend $25,000 on a new car or you can spend $14,000, but do you feel it’s a good car? Are you satisfied with it? If so, then great,” she said. It’s a different decision for each individual; everyone wants something different.

Orlando said, “The education at Monmouth is beyond phenomenal and gives me many great options later in life, but to begin life in the real world in so much debt is taking a step back. Making college so unaffordable in general, not just at Monmouth, it discourages people from attaining higher learning.”

“I believe I will make it [money spent on college] back, it’s just a matter of when,” said Gray. Today, most careers require a college degree. Both students believe that a degree will widely expand their personal employment opportunities and their chance of earning back their tuition dollars.

The biggest question a student must ask themselves, said Alasio, is “in an honest way, do I feel like I am getting what I paid for?”

Monmouth University strives to help students. Next month, an undergraduate survey will be available to measure student satisfaction, what they want for their money, and what they could do without.

“Speak up,” urged Alasio. “We want to hear it.”