Who Wants to Pay for My Degree? NYU and the Growing Cost of Higher Education

Written by NYPress on . Posted in NY Press Exclusive.


By Laurent Berstecher

It is no secret: going to college is becoming an increasingly expensive choice. NYU’s recent tuition hike for 2012-13 is simply following the trend, as the average cost of attending college in the United States has increased tenfold in the past 60 years. In 1950, a year at NYU would have cost a mere $496 (this represents about $4,500 today,) while the 2012/ 2013 tuition for Stern Business School, is estimated at around $51,562.

The phenomenon is not NYU-bound, and tuition has been steadily increasing in both public and private universities around the country. According to FinAid, tuition costs are raised by an average of 8% a year at the national level.  In retrospect, NYU’s 2012-2013 4% hike, the lowest in years, may not be that bad. But 4% of $50,000 is still a lot of money.

Seeing no realistic end to ever-increasing tuition fees, it may be tempting to ask where all the money goes. As far as NYU is concerned, the school depends on tuition for most of its expenses, since it does not benifate from large endowments like most of its competitors. Thus, NYU president John Sexton has constantly been reminding his students that their money is necessary to maintain the university’s standards of excellence.

While those tough financial conditions may discourage many from pursuing a college education, NYU has seen its numbers of applications steadily increase over the past few years. There is thus no real risk for the school to run out of students, and tuition does not look like it will be dropping anytime soon.

However, there is good news for those of you who benefit from scholarships or other financial aid, as they have been increased accordingly to match the new tuition costs. Meanwhile, national student loan debt is silently growing, reaching a record $1 trillion in April 2012.

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