For the privilege of attending Johns Hopkins in the 2013-2014 school year, incoming freshmen (or, let’s be real, their parents) will pay $45,470, an increase of 3.5 percent over the previous year. Room and board will rise to $13,832, 3.3 percent more than last year, making the grand total a whopping $59,302 (and solidifying my desire to never have children). The university is consistently one of the ten most expensive schools in the country.
In the age of ever-increasing tuition hikes at area independent schools, recent news out of the Park School will likely be met with a big sigh of relief by parents of incoming preschoolers.
Talk about sticker shock: this year’s babies may end up paying over $110,000 a year for college, if costs keep rising at the same rate. Nope, that’s not a typo. As of last year, the cost of a year at one of the nation’s ten most-expensive private schools ran to $56,659 (that’s including tuition, fees, room, and board… but not textbooks). Factor in the 3 percent annual increase that’s been the recent norm, and the class of 2034 (or their parents) might be shelling out $422,320 for a four-year degree.
No matter how much financial aid tempers the cost, that’s a prohibitive price tag. (Consider the fact that families with at least one child have seen incomes grow only about 1 percent since 1987.) Some schools are trying to stem the tide themselves. Harvard pledges that students from families earning between $65,000 and $150,000 annually will pay a maximum of 10 percent of their family’s earnings each year. For the sake of the class of 2034, let’s hope that policy stays in place.
My sister and her family have been living in London for the past few years. They had a great opportunity to try on the life of the ex-pat for three years through her husband’s work. It has been a fantastic time for their family, and they have had many adventures, and enriching experiences. But their oldest is a senior in high school, and they are looking at colleges back on this side of the Atlantic. Like the rest of the US population, my sister and her husband are reeling with sticker shock from the price tags of college tuition.
But, they’ve figured out a pretty cool thing. If they move back to Washington, D.C., instead of Bethesda (the difference of just a few miles), where they lived before London, their kids could be eligible for reduced tuition prices at public colleges and universities across the country, or private colleges in Washington, D.C.
The DC College Access Act of 1999, also known as the D.C. Tuition Assistance Grant Program, provides tuition subsidies to D.C. residents to attend public colleges and universities throughout the nation and private colleges and universities in the D.C. metropolitan area. D.C. residents attending private, historically black colleges and universities in Virginia are also eligible for tuition subsidies.
According to the D.C. Office of the State Superintendent of Education, the “DCTAG expands higher education choices for District residents by providing grants of up to $10,000 toward the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition at public four-year colleges and universities throughout the U.S., Guam and Puerto Rico. The grant also provides up to $2,500 per academic year toward tuition at private colleges in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan area, private Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) nationwide, and two-year colleges nationwide. DCTAG is neither need nor merit-based.”
There are just a few requirements: 1) students must currently live in D.C., and must have lived there for at least 12 months prior to their freshman year of college; 2) students must have graduated from high school (or received their GED) on or after January 1, 1998, and must have begun their freshman year of college within 3 years of graduating; 3) students must be enrolled at least half-time in an undergraduate degree or certificate program; and 4) students must not have already completed an undergraduate degree.
Now, this is not an option everyone can exercise. But, if you live in D.C., this tuition assistance program can cover a big chunk of the cost of college at literally hundreds of colleges and universities across the country, including many prestigious names.
For more information, contact the D.C. Tuition Assistance Grant Program office:
• For D.C. residents: (202) 727-2824
• For Toll Free: (877) 485-6751
• TTY: (202) 727-1675
• For information in Spanish call (202) 727-8450
• Website: www.tuitiongrant.washingtondc.gov
Private school tuition is an expensive privilege no matter the location, but some tuition bills are higher than others. This summer, we looked at tuition rates at area private schools and found that Baltimore private school tuition averages at about $23,000.
I heard about a cool program from a co-worker this morning. Her child is a senior, attending public high school in Howard County, and recently accepted an offer from University of South Carolina for the fall through a program I’ve never heard of before: Academic Common Market. If you live in one of the participating 16 states (Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia), and your home state doesn’t offer the degree program you are interested in, you can attend one of the other states’ colleges for in-state tuition price. That can mean huge savings, as with my colleague, who will now pay $17,000 per year instead of $34,000 per year for her daughter to attend South Carolina. It’s great for Maryland, also, as the programs offered elsewhere do not have to be duplicated here. Click on the link above for more information.