5 College Costs Infographics Worth Looking At

glass jar with money for collegeIf you believe a picture is worth a 1000 words or just have to communicate with someone who isn’t interested reading more than 140 characters at a time, infographics are for you. There are plenty of infographics on college costs that can be used as an introduction to topic. Of course, some are better than others. I think the following five college costs infographics are worth taking the time to look at.

The True Cost of College
Varsity Tutors shows the average sticker price for 2-year and 4-year colleges. The 4-year information is broken down by public in-state, public out-of-state, and private. I know some would criticize the graphic for not showing the average net price instead of the actual price. However, I think knowing the actual numbers for state schools is useful for those pursuing merit aid at private schools. Another plus for this graphic is that it doesn’t just show the types of grant aid but also the percentage they represent. Just 10% comes from the private sector (scholarships) while 37% comes from the colleges themselves.

College Choice and Prudent Consumers
This infographic is by the Lawlor Group and displays some of the effects of cost on the college decision. One graph shows the Share of Students by 4-Year College’s Tuition Cost. Over 26% of students attend colleges with tuition costs between $6,000 and $8,999. The other interesting graph tracks Family Income, Students Loan Debt and College Costs from 2000 to 2010. Let’s just say that one trend does not look like the others.

College Pressure Are You in or Out?
This infographic focuses more on the effects of the recent recession. It graphs the role of cost in deciding on a college pre-recession, during the recession, and post-recession. The percentage of students who said cost would be the overriding factor dropped from 71% during the recession to 58% post-recession. The infographic also has some interesting graphs on the pursuit of out-of-state students by the University of California system.

The Cost of Attending College Today
The focus of this infographic is the increase in college costs and how much students actually pay compared to the list price. One set of graphs displays the Published Tuition and Fees versus Actual Costs since 1995. For private schools, students paid less in 2010 than they did in 2000. The graph What Most Students are Paying shows what percentage of students are paying in specific tuition categories. Over 25% of students at public four-year colleges are paying between $9,000 and $11,999.

Why Go to College?
This is the basic average income by education level graph. The interesting part is that it also shows the average unemployment rate as well. The layout reinforces the upward trend of education. Less than a high school diploma made less than $30,000 with a 14.1% unemployment rate while a professional degree averaged $121,212 and only a 2.4% unemployment rate.

The problem with this infographic is that it is the average for all persons over the age 25. Too many people don’t really get the average concept. Without going into the implications for our education system, it might be useful to also show the How Education Can Affect Your Income infographic. It shows the Highest Paying Majors with starting median income and mid-career median income. A person with a degree in physics would start somewhere around $50,000 and increase to $100,000 by mid-career.

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