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Economic Impact on College Decisions

2005
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Public and private colleges have been competing for students for
years. Private colleges offer a more personal, hands-on approach to education
while public colleges offer a larger setting along with freedom and
independence that has never been experienced by freshmen new to the college
scene. However, private and public colleges are competing on a whole
new level. This year, they are not just trying to accommodate to prospective
students’ wants and needs, but competing to offer the lowest price tag.

With the economy in a drastic downward spiral with no apparent
end in sight, families are beginning to pay closer attention to the price of
tuition and making smarter decisions when it comes to choosing a college.
This year, more than any previous year at Gilmour, students have
applied to more public colleges due to the rising price of tuition and the
demise of the economy. Guidance counselor Mrs. Klaus states, “The
economy has had a huge impact on college decisions. Usually 70% of
Gilmour students attend private colleges. This year it will be down toward 60% because of the cost of tuition.”

Nonetheless, many seniors believe that the difference between private and public education
does not seem to matter. They also said that they made their decisions
based on schools they liked, regardless of private or public school.
Adam Shemory (`08) states,

Money is not a factor in my decision. I am going to go where I want to go.”

Despite what seniors say, the facts are undeniable. Since 1982, the
price of college tuition has increased 439%. In that same time period, the average American salary has increased
only 147%. Mrs. Klaus adds, “Most parents have the money to afford private college tuition, but in this
day and age people may not be willing to take the risk to pay for the highest
quality education. The top level students in Gilmour’s senior class who
could apply to Ivy League schools are applying to honors programs at large state schools, like Ohio State. This
would drastically cut the cost of tuition because it is in state and it is a public
school.” At post time, 28 seniors are committed to attend private schools
while 24 are committed to attend public.