College Acceptance: Yaayy! Tuition: Not So Much.

The thunderous noise heard throughout the house was not due to the winds howling through bending palm trees during our recent storm, but to my overjoyed son jumping up and down screaming , “I'm gonna be a Boilermaker!!”after reading an acceptance e-mail which landed in his In box at 7:48 PM PST from Purdue University.


Tears of joy, mixed with gratifying emotions of knowing someone likes him as a student and being able to plan where he'll be sleeping in September, all came together at once – and was quite overwhelming. We hugged, we cried, we took deep cleansing breaths knowing the suspense was finally over. The loss of control over our kid's future home is finally back in the driver's seat, and it's a good feeling.

Now, reality hits. Financial reality that is. The joy of possibly attending a Big Ten school is quickly overshadowed by the tuition costs we must resign ourselves to pay for this quality education, whether we like it or not.

College tuition is a hot topic these days, especially in our difficult economic times.  According to USA Today, “tuition, fees, and room and board per year at four-year public schools jumped 46%, from an average of $10,440 in 1999-2000 to $15,210 last year, when adjusting for inflation. For private four-year schools, costs rose 28% in that period, from an average of $27,740 to $35,640 (per year). “ 

Paying for a college education is almost equal to the price tag of an average home in our home state. For many,  it's simply  impossible to happily part with this kind of money, or risking re-mortgaging the family home when home loans are scarce.

Luckily, I remembered I have the latest press release from The Princeton Review's (TPR) 2010 “Best Value Colleges” survey and I quickly went down the list to find out if  Purdue University was listed  as a 'Best Value' school among the top 100 colleges in the country.

First, let's define 'Best Value College' according to TPR, shall we?

“The Princeton Review selected these institutions as its “Best Value” choices for 2010 based on its surveys of administrators and students at more than 650 public and private colleges and universities.   The selection criteria covered more than 30 factors in three areas:  academics, costs of attendance, and financial aid, using the most recently reported data from each institution for its 2008-09 academic year.”

Said Robert Franek, Princeton Review SVP-Publisher, “We know many families and students have serious concerns about paying for college in these tough economic times. Among the nearly 16,000 respondents to our 2009 'College Hopes and Worries Survey,' of college applicants and parents, 85% said financial aid would be 'very necessary' for them this year.  However there are many first-rate institutions offering outstanding academics at a relatively low cost of attendance and/or generous financial aid, including some that may surprise applicants.  We’re pleased to have again teamed up with USA TODAY to identify and commend the 100 colleges that do just that and do it best in the nation.”

The Princeton Review “Top 10 Best Value Private Colleges for 2010″ are:

1. Swarthmore College (Swarthmore PA)

2. Harvard College (Cambridge MA)

3. Wesleyan College (Macon, GA)

4. Princeton University (Princeton NJ)

5. Yale University (New Haven CT)

6. Williams College (Williamstown, MA)

7. Rice University (Houston TX)

8. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, MA)

9. Amherst College (Amherst, MA)

10. Wellesley College (Wellesley, MA)

The “Top 10 Best Value Public Colleges for 2010″ are:

1.  University of Virginia (Charlottesville VA)

2.  City University of New York – Hunter College (New York NY)

3.  New College of Florida (Sarasota FL)

4.  Florida State University (Tallahassee FL)

5.  University of Colorado (Boulder, CO.)

6.  State University of New York at Binghamton (Binghamton NY)

7.  Univ. of Georgia (Athens GA)

8.  Virginia Tech (Blacksburg, VA)

9.  Texas A & M University (College Station, TX)

10.University of Oklahoma (Norman, OK)

It turns out Purdue isn't on the list this year, but it was consoling to know it was one of The Princeton Review's “Top 100 Best Value Colleges in the Nation” in 2009, and “The Princeton Review has named Purdue among the top 20 colleges in the nation in a number of categories including best athletics, best college newspaper and best campus food in TPR's “371 Best Colleges“.

This bit of information gave us hope that we might be able to send our future Boilermaker to study at his new home in the Midwest after all…without becoming homeless ourselves!

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