College Carries a Cost in Ohio, Idaho

EMILY POITEVIN
The Arbiter Online
Boise State University

Idaho differs from other states in the fact that it costs more for students to attend private schools than it does for public schools. According to the Albertson College of Idahos Web site, students pay an average of $15,200 a year in tuition and fees at the college, regardless of whether or not they are Idaho residents. Out-of-state students at Boise State University pay $11,280 a year to attend. In general, the costs of attending a public institution in Idaho are similar no matter which college or university is chosen.

Overall, however, the cost of attending a college in Idaho, regardless of whether it is private, is much lower in comparison to other states, such as Ohio.

Those were findings in the College Boards annual Trends in College Pricing survey released last week.

David Creamer, vice president for administration at Kent State University, said he wasnt surprised that Ohio has the sixth most expensive public four-year colleges and the fifth most expensive public two-year colleges in the 2005-06 academic year.

State support for higher education has stabilized or dropped in recent years, tipping more costs toward students.

When we look at the total costs we spend for a student, its a matter of the state share that makes the difference, Creamer said.

While the state share of per-student funding has dropped $1,611 over the last three years, the student share has grown by $1,311, said spokesman Bret Crow of the Ohio Board of Regents, the coordinating body for higher education in the state.

Theres almost a direct relationship between state support and the amount that students pay, he said.

Regents Chancellor Rod Chu said Ohios costs have always been up there in the top quarter of the country and in the top 10 for the last several years.

The College Board said students at four-year public colleges in Ohio are paying an average of $7,040 this year; students at Ohios two-year colleges are paying $3,650.

Ohios private colleges did better when compared with their peers, although such schools costs still are much higher.

The average tuition cost of $18,910 was well below the national average of $21,235.

That put the state in 18th place in the rankings, which weighted tuition prices by the institution size.

Idahos average tuition costs of $3,890 for public schools and $13,330 for private residents are also well below the national average. The cost of attending a public university or college in Idaho increased by nine percent from the year before, and the cost of attending a private university or college increased by six percent.

This was the first year the not-for-profit membership organization in New York City provided state averages.

Although the published price for college can seem shockingly high, most students dont pay that amount, the report pointed out.

Sixty-two percent of full-time U.S. undergraduates received grants and federal tax credits and deductions for higher education last year, according to the College Boards companion report, Trends in Student Aid.

Those subsidies can dramatically lower the cost of a private education.

At the College of Wooster, for example, the typical incoming freshman got $20,440 in aid this year, said Derek Gueldenzoph, dean of admissions.

At $35,290 for room and board, tuition and fees, the cost to attend the Ohio college is one of the highest in the state. More than 90 percent of Wooster students get some type of award.

At the same time, many students are borrowing more money to pay for their education, according to the College Board.

While undergraduate funding via grants dropped from 50 percent to 46 percent over the last three years, the percentage in loans rose from 43 percent to 46 percent.

If they continue on the current track, loans will exceed grants in coming years, said Sandy Baum, a senior policy analyst at the College Board.

Some of that debt may come with high interest rates. As many as 25 percent of students may be relying on credit cards to finance their educations, the College Board said.