College Rankings and Tuition

College Tuition and Top Colleges, Tuition and College Rankings, University Tuition and Rankings

Folks are willing to pay a whole lot of money — whether or not they can afford it — to attend highly selective colleges (photo credit: Jawed Karim).

Do you think that universities risk losing the interest of potential students by raising tuition? If you think this to be true, you’d be incorrect. If you think the principles of economics hold true for American higher education at the most prestigious universities in America, you’d be incorrect. At these highly selective universities, the opposite of the principles of economics seem to hold true. According to an article on college rankings and tuition by Frederick M. Hess of “American Enterprise Institute,” “Instead of being punished by consumers for high prices, schools frequently attract more students when they raise their tuition.” Imagine that!

In fact, according to Hess’ article, 67% of American college applicants are willing to pay more than they can afford for the chance to attend an American university with a “prestigious reputation.” When it comes to gaining admission to highly selective universities, what you can afford seems to have no relevance. In what other sector of the American economy does this hold true? In what other area does what one can afford not really factor into the equation when making a purchase for hundreds of thousands of dollars?

We can’t think of a single sector where this holds true other than highly selective college admissions. Writes Hess, “This state of affairs rests on the conviction that elite institutions are a scarce commodity and worth the price of admission.” We agree with Hess’ argument but wonder what you think about folks not worrying about costs when it comes to attending a highly selective college. Do you think this should change? Do you think this trend makes sense? Let us know your thoughts on college rankings and tuition by posting below!

While you’re here, check out this newsletter on College Rankings.


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