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Americans overestimate the cost of college education

February 11, 2002

A survey by the American Council on Education suggests Americans are concerned about cutbacks in education. Most also grossly overestimate what it cost to attend a college or university, says the Feb. 6 issue of "The Chronicle of Higher Education." Seventy-seven percent of the 700 adults surveyed expressed "a great deal" of concern that cuts in state funding for higher education could impair the quality of education at their state institutions. The survey also shows that Americans continue to overestimate the cost of a college education, putting the price at $11,637 a year for public institutions. In reality, the average price is $3,754. The misperception might be a result of financial institution advertising that encourages parents to begin saving for college the minute their child is born. Those ads often use private college costs, which can easily run $25,000 a year, as an example.