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College Is Expensive.


As we start another school year, here’s some sobering information for parents with young children: college is expensive… really expensive! For the most recently completely academic year the cost to attend Kansas State University was about $13,400 ($6000 for in-state tuition and $7400 for room & board, books & supplies, etc.). It cost our cross-state, red and blue rivals even more at about$14,000.

Over the past 30 years or so tuition costs have increased at a much higher rate than inflation: 7.9% per year, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Over the past 20 years KSU’s tuition has increased an average of 8.9% per year. Ouch. For comparison purposes, the Consumer Price Index (CPI), a measure of inflation, increased an average of 2.4% per year.

So here’s the fun math for you:

Assume your child is born this year. Assume that beautiful baby will don purple and head off to the Little Apple in 2028 (no, they can’t stay in our basement). Assume tuition costs continue to increase by about 8% per year. Assume other college costs continue to increase by about 3% per year (a pretty standard assumed rate for inflation).

That first year of college will cost about $36,500. That’s just the first year. Assume they finish in 4 years (which I’ve heard is an anomaly these days) and their total bill will be well over $150,000. Better start saving.

Here’s the upside: your Friday can only get better from here!

Never fear. Stay tuned. My next musing will offer a simple solution (the price tag will still be there, but I’ll offer a suggestion as to how to make it more doable).