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08

Wednesday's Most Active Threads

by Jeff Steele last modified Feb 08, 2024 05:16 PM

Yesterday's most active topics included the cost of attending Tufts University, diversity trends in area private schools, prestige of colleges and universities, and filming fights in MCPS.

Yesterday the King Charles thread was again the most active thread of the day. But since I have already discussed that thread, I'll go on to the next which was titled, "Tufts tuition" and posted in the "College and University Discussion" forum. The original poster says that he checked the cost of Tufts University on the school's website and saw that it comes to $88,300 per year. The title only mentions tuition, but this amount is actually what colleges refer to as the "cost of attendance" that includes food, housing, books, and other expenses. The original poster seems astounded by the price and asks how any school can be worth this amount and wonders what Tufts offers to justify charging 2 or 3 times the price of other equally-good colleges. Several posters question whether there actually are comparable universities that cost significantly less. They argue that this is simply the going price for private colleges and even many public universities. Some posters attribute this to the market pricing of universities and suggest that as long as someone is willing to pay the cost, that is what it is worth. Others argue that students are simply paying for the name or connections that can be made at the school and that the education is not significantly better. Posters suggest Michigan State University and Florida State University as colleges that offer merit aid to highly-qualified students that brings down the cost to less than half of Tufts. Another poster suggested Rutgers University. Other posters contested the idea that any of these schools were the same caliber as Tufts. There are a couple of different arguments going on in this thread. One is that expensive colleges such as Tufts offset the price by offering merit aid to "high stats" students. But one poster, whose son has great grades and extracurriculars, says that their experience is that even with merit aid the colleges are too expensive. The second dispute is similar to those about the value of private k-12 schools compared to public. Posters point to smaller class sizes and a more exclusive student body as advantages. Much of the college forum is taken up by threads about admissions and who is being advantaged and who is getting an unfair deal. But, increasingly, discussions about the cost of college are becoming almost as popular. Thread after thread highlights that while the super wealthy can simply write a check and the very poor can count on financial assistance, those in the middle are challenged by the costs. Posters can make any argument that they want to justify the cost of selective private colleges — and indeed they make many — but if others can't afford the cost, none of those advantages matter. As a result, in real life just as in this thread, many are beginning to see more value in lower-cost public universities.

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