How much the average MN private-college student pays after financial aid

Don’t forget the financial aid (MPCC)

You might recall that after I posted MnSCU‘s chart on how much it cost to take various paths toward a bachelor’s degree, I got a couple of comments about how little some private-college students pay after all the financial aid is factored in.

I put in a call to the communications director of the Minnesota Private College Council, who said he’d look into it further.

For now, though, he offered a couple of graphics. They’re related to the cost issue, but don’t themselves offer comparable data.

The first one, above, shows the average net cost after institutional and government-funded financial aid. Those are just averages, however, and don’t break it out by income group. It looks like they’re from data that’s a year older than that provided by the U and MnSCU, but that’s probably minor.

Annual tuition issue aside, he did bring up a point that influences the overall cost issue — one that’s becoming pertinent in these days of five- and six-year completion rates: the amount of time it takes to complete a degree.

It’s a point the private-college folks appear to be pushing — that students who go to their schools tend to graduate within the standard four years. From the online sheet below:

Our four-year graduation rate of 66% is far higher than the rates at the University of Minnesota (41%) and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (22%).


If you factor in the fifth and sixth years — the additional net tuition and opportunity cost of lost income from being out of the workforce during that period — the council puts the “total cost” at:

  • $58,642 for private colleges after four years;
  • $107,657 after six years at a state university; and
  • $123,333 after six years at the University of Minnesota.

The total makes the big assumption, of course, that a student would graduate from a private college in four years and from the other two systems in six.

I’ve got a call in to the state Office of Higher Education asking one of its analysts to weigh in with whatever data it has. (Both are out till next week.)

So far it has been difficult to get data that’s truly comparable. I have a feeling this “net cost” tuition discussion is going to continue for a while.