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Letter: Cost Is Important

In reading this article from a recent Mineola American called “Counselor’s A Key In College Readiness,” I was surprised to see that of all the criteria the author mentioned that he found critical in the search for the right college for prospective students, cost was not even mentioned. 


Starting the search early, determining the individual’s  strengths and personal qualities that appeal to particular schools, considering the social and career factors, are all well and good but to ignore the cost to the student and the parents is really putting the cart before the horse.


Total debt tied to college loans is now in excess of $1 trillion, which is now more than total American credit card debt and according to an article appearing in Bloomberg News on Dec. 4, 7 out 10 American college seniors in 2012 graduated with an average of $29,400 in debt...for undergraduate school.


Over the last two years, I have spent much of my professional  time on college campuses and what I have come to learn is that enrollments are down and it is a significant factor impacting the business of college. And make no mistake, higher education is a business but the folks that run these schools and universities would like to have you think otherwise. Maybe that’s why they call their customers students. 


One of the factors that most parents and students should realize is that they are now really in the driver’s seat when it comes to smaller private schools. Not only are there declining enrollments, but the whole model of higher education may be changing entirely. What is the future of large traditional campuses in an age of digital online learning?


In a world where the average cost of a home in Nassau County is skyrocketing and taxes for schools and essential services are sky high, to saddle a graduating senior with unnecessary and excessive debt is the wrong decision to make. Don’t make the road map to college lead to a dead-end street. 


John Napolitano


Williston Park