Scandal reemphasizes just how costly college has become

Tuition has more than doubled in past 30 years

By Keith Dunlap - Graham Media Group
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In the wake of the college admissions scandal that has recently come to light, the ethics of college admissions offices are being analyzed.

Federal prosecutors on Tuesday charged 50 wealthy parents with paying college administrators to falsify athletic records and help their children cheat on entrance exams in order to gain admissions to schools such as UCLA, Stanford, Yale, USC and Georgetown.

Noteable people charged were former "Full House" star Lori Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannull, and former "Desperate Housewives" actress Felicity Huffman. 

Loughlin and Giannulli allegedly agreed to pay USC $500,000 to have their daughters recruited to the crew team even though neither has ever rowed, while Huffman is accused of helping her oldest daughter cheat on an SAT test. 

The Independent Educational Consultants Association issued a statement saying that the application process to colleges should be fun and that a majority of admissions officers are ethical people who want to help families.

Not surprisingly, the scandal also brought to light just how much the cost of tuition has risen over the past 30 years, and the most expensive colleges in the country.

According to Trends in College Pricing, the cost of tuition at four-year private colleges has more than doubled over the past 30 years, from $17,010 in 1988 to $35,830 in 2018. The numbers take into account inflation and are measured by 2018 dollar figures. 

At public four-year institutions, the number jumped from $3,360 in 1988 to $10,230 in 2018.

The number went from $1,700 to $3,660 over the same time frame at public two-year universities.

According to a report in U.S. News & World Report, the most expensive institution to attend in 2018 was Columbia University in New York, which had a tuition of $59,430 per year.

The University of Chicago was second with an annual tuition of $57,006.

To see the rest of the top 10, view the graph below. 


Graham Media Group 2019