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Rohit Singh
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Wed, 06 Sep 2006

Nobody Pays List Price

Except suckers and the helpless. This guy briefly mentions how American colleges are getting costlier (partly because of the customer demand to improve facilities) He mentions in passing one of the weirder oddities of higher education in America-- the tuition setup. My I-20 says MIT will spend upwards of $55K on me per year, including tuition and research assistant stipend. However, that's really voodoo math. Almost all PhD students get financial support and tuition waivers, so the tuition amount during PhD really is meaningless. MIT might as well charge me an annual tuition of $1000 or $100000; I'll still be paying $0. All it does is act as a tax on faculty who have to find more money to fund their students. Sneaky, no? And compared to undergrads, the PhD student takes far fewer classes, and usually lives off-campus; most of the resources he needs are for his research, which is paid for separately by his advisor.

The particulalry sad part is what happens to those who can't work the system and finagle a "discount", e.g. foreign students in Masters programs. They borrow large amounts to essentially subsidize others.

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