Saving for Retirement

College Coupons

by Elaine Schwartz    •    May 15, 2012

By Mira Korber, guest blogger.

Throughout the college process, you probably think about how disparate institutions are the right fit for you financially. But consider the equation in reverse…

From solely an economic standpoint, three categories of students might comprise the college’s right fit:

(1)  The independently willing and able to pay for education.

(2)  The students who rely on merit scholarships and grants to attend.

(3)  Those who secure long term loans to pay for their degrees.

I wonder if colleges are counting on the coupon effect. People willing to expend the time and energy looking for coupons pay less. But businesses still can take advantage of the group who, ignoring the coupons, are willing to pay more. Again, the business owner can benefit. She does not have to offer lower prices to everyone.

Are colleges dividing their admissions pool the same way by separating those who seek aid and those who do not?

My investigation into costs of college and rising tuition led me to several interesting sources:

NPR Planet Money. Another Econlife post on the subject of college costs and government intervention. NY Times on college costs, here and here. Not entirely related, but interesting nonetheless. Finally, the middle class college “squeeze.”

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