How to Get Both Quality and Lower Cost in College – I

Here is valuable information about how to have both lower education cost and still get the quality that you need to advance your career. Contrary to general opinion, quality and lower cost in higher education are not mutually exclusive. You can have both but you have to know how to select the university to enroll in.

Confused about what you need to do to both reduce your cost and get quality in higher education? It’s no wonder. The number of things you have to consider is mind boggling and there is not very good information available for you to make this important decision.

In the first part of this series I will share details you need about the most confusing part of this decision – quality. The cost savings come later.

Buzz Today Source: How College Affects Students: Volume 2 – A Third Decade of Research “Institutional Quality: academic expenditures per student, faculty-student ratio, percentage of faculty with Ph.D.s, tuition costs, reputational ratings, faculty salaries, and selectivity… Most have employed institutional selectivity as a single proxy measure for institutional quality.”

In Buzz Today we see how both the public and the researchers have viewed quality in higher education. In later postings of this series I will discuss more details about education quality. In those postings, I will share details on what education should be doing for you. For now, let’s stay with the common beliefs about university quality, most particularly, institutional selectivity.

Princeton University is ranked as the number one university in America by the US News and World. Princeton university is highly selective and becoming more so. At Princeton, the overall acceptance rate in 2014 for the class of 2017 was 7.29%. This is down from 9.9% in 2003. The selectivity is even more dramatic when we look at the details: 10,629 of the 26,498 applicants (40% of the total) had 4.0 grade point averages.

The truth is that, for working adults like you, Princeton University is not a feasible college choice for even if you had 4.0 grades and the money to pay the $40,170 annual cost. The point is that selectivity as a quality measure simply does not help you make the decisions you need to complete your education.

But wait! I have some good news for you. Even though selectivity has become the representation of quality in American higher education research indicates that it is not that important to the true quality of your education. Here is what the researchers tell us: “student body selectivity in and of itself may tell us little about institutional influences on general cognitive skills and intellectual growth.” In plain English, what this means is that you are not domed to an inferior education if you do not go to Princeton or Harvard.

What you need to look for to get a good education at a reasonable cost involves things other than institutional selectivity. In future posts I will share about things like cognitive skills, problem solving, communications skills and other true quality dimensions of higher education.