Nancy Kendall & Sara Goldrick-Rab,
The high price of college is the subject of media headlines, policy debates, and dinner table conversations because of its implications for educational opportunities, student and family pocketbooks, and the economy.1 Some people caution against giving too much weight to the advertised price of a college education, pointing out that the availability of financial aid means that college is not as expensive as people think it is.2 But they overlook a substantial problem: for many students, the real price of college is much higher than what recruitment literature, conventional wisdom, and even official statistics convey. Our research indicates that the current approach to higher education financing too often leaves low-income students facing unexpected, and sometimes untenable, expenses.
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The Real Price of College