Upset Patterns

NPR’s Planet Money podcast recently exposed one of the strangest yet most important point about college tuition costs today. Although college tuition has increased by gargantuan amounts in the last couple decades, this doesn’t take into account what people are actually paying.

The list price of college has definitely gone up, as Mitt Romney and Barack Obama have been talking about in their campaigns. But this doesn’t mean people are actually spending that much on it. The average sticker price of a private college is $28,500 for the current school year. What the average person pays? $12,970. That’s essentially the same as the $12,650 students paid in inflation-adjusted dollars in 2000-2oo1.

The difference between the “sticker price” and the actual cost comes from financial aid, grants, scholarships, etc – usually from the colleges/universities themselves. So what’s the deal? Pretty simple, when you think about it. You go to a…

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