NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Those From Well-To-Do Families Select Public Colleges

November 29, 1999

On average, students at the "flagship" universities of state college systems have higher family incomes than students at private colleges, according to a new analysis of federal data.

  • The families of undergraduates attending public colleges earned a median annual income of $51,231 -- compared to $46,863 at private colleges in the 1995-96 school year.
  • For the 1992-93 school year, the figures were $49,658 at flagship public universities -- versus $47,735 for those at private schools.
  • Unlike private colleges, state universities essentially subsidize student costs regardless of family income by offering low tuition for in-state students.
  • As the gap between tuition rates at private and public colleges has grown, more affluent families have shopped around for what they see as the best value.

Source: Kenneth J. Cooper, "The Well-to-Do at the Public U.," Washington Post, November 25, 1999.


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