Planet Money
4:02 pm
Fri May 11, 2012

The Real Price Of College

Originally published on Tue May 15, 2012 9:37 am

On today's show, we visit beautiful Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania.

Price of one year at Lafayette: $55,688. Up 63 percent from the price a decade ago.

At least, that's the sticker price — the price you get if you add up tuition, room and board, and all the fees listed on the school's website.

But there's a huge gap between the sticker price and what the average student actually pays after figuring in grants and scholarships.

That's true at private colleges around the country. Nationwide, the average sticker price is more than twice as high as the price students actually pay, and the gap is getting wider.

It turns out, it makes economic sense to have a high sticker price and offer lots of discounts. On the show today, we explain why.

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