January 18, 2019

What Part of Your Tuition Bill Actually Goes Towards Education?

leafy collge campusI ran across an interesting article about college tuition on the Credit.com blog.  Entitled The $7,000 Master’s Degree thats Scaring Colleges, personal finance writer Mitchell Weiss reports that Georgia Tech plans to offer a fully online master’s degree in computer science for $7,000 – roughly one-seventh the cost of an on-campus degree (i.e. around $50,000).

As an Atlanta resident and native I can tell you that Georgia Tech is considered one of the nation’s finest engineering and computer science universities and that its undergraduate programs are considered one of the top values in higher education, especially for Georgia residents who pay in-state tuition.  In other words, this is one of the top universities in the country offering a legitimate master’s degree online.

In a broader sense, however, Georgia Tech’s pricing model suggests that much of the cost of higher education arises from services ancillary to education.  If a “normal” computer science master’s degree costs $50,000 and the education component is $7,000, this means that $43,000 of that tuition covers administration, housing, student activities, construction and campus maintenance. [Read more…]