You may not be near sorting through your college acceptances; you may not even have finished applying to colleges yet. But, you do have to start thinking about where you will actually go. Part of that thinking should be about cost. Private schools have more prestige, but they are also more expensive. How do you weigh your education against money?
One good thing is that private college costs are coming down. Over the past years private college tuition rates have continued to increase, but they may now be pricing themselves out of the market. In fact, 2013 saw a 10%, and sometimes 20%, drop in target enrollment numbers for private schools not in the top tier. Tuition discounts, that is the cost of college after grants and scholarships—not loans, which have to be paid back—, have increased. It is now more of a buyers’ market for private schools, except for the most selective.
On the other hand, the economy and the effects of Congress’ sequestration (March, 2013) reductions have hurt job prospects for college graduates. Federal and state government jobs have been delayed, frozen, and left empty. These cuts have affected local economies as well, where public jobs like teaching have been declining. This may not be the time to come from even a top-tiered education with huge debt that can dampen your earning power.
You can make a good college choice for both application and acceptance, but you need to weigh all the factors and options before you do.