The ‘net cost’ of college

Brad Plummer notes that the net cost of college is not as high as the sticker price. Duke’s cost of attendance is around $59,000 for next year, but how many students can expect to pay that? About half of the undergrads paid full freight during the 2010-11 school year:

About 45% of the undergrads received need based financial aid, and a small number of students attended Duke on a full ride merit, or an athletic scholarship.

The breakdown of how much need based aid was received by the median need based financial aid recipient in 2010-11 looked like this:

Note: I believe that the average total aid received by income includes the merit aid awards as well as need based financial aid.  I am also not sure if the figures above include the zeros of the half of students not receiving any aid. One of the issues that could arise is that you end up with a mean amount of aid that actually does not really describe many students if you have some paying the full price, while others receive a large amount of aid. The worry might be the crowding out of the “middle” which would likely represent a higher income than most uses of the term middle income.

Recent posts on related topics: here and here.

About Don Taylor
Professor of Public Policy at Duke University (with appointments in Business, Nursing, Community and Family Medicine, and the Duke Clinical Research Institute). I am one of the founding faculty of the Margolis Center for Health Policy, and currently serve as Chair of Duke's University Priorities Committee (UPC). My research focuses on improving care for persons who are dying, and I am co-PI of a CMMI award in Community Based Palliative Care. I teach both undergrads and grad students at Duke. On twitter @donaldhtaylorjr

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