Families attempting to determine college affordability can be subjected to acute bouts of insomnia. The predicament of framing the pros and cons of each college choice for their children can be, at times, daunting for parents. Parents face the dilemma of defining the value of a future outcome–a college degree with all of its attendant benefits–which must be paid in the immediate term from current income, savings or financed which will be repaid with future income that is not guaranteed in the form of gainful employment when the time comes.
Annually rising college tuition, now in triple digit percentages over the past 30 years, can further complicate parents efforts; thus, the sleepless nights.
The rise in public university tuition can show state support decrease, which causes individual families to shoulder greater responsibility for college costs. Also, because public university tuition has been increasing at a greater rate than private universities, families can compare private and public colleges on value, rather than price. Then, college bound teens can match the campuses to them which will most likely create an intended future outcome, rather than simply choosing the college that costs least. The sooner a family can start the process of determining value in college, the more probable that the family will both be able to afford the college experience, as well as reasonably predict which campus will help create a desired result.
Chart from Trends in Higher Education, College Board 2013