New online tool reveals a university’s ‘real’ price to students

Tuition Tracker shows prospective students an institution’s ‘net price’

money200How much does college cost? Somewhere between “a heck of a lot” and “not as much as you might think.”

Sure, college is expensive, but a new online tool unveiled last week, Tuition Tracker, is trying to take some of the mystery out of college pricing.

“I’ve often wondered why (colleges) have a sticker price and why colleges don’t simply charge a net price and stop acting like an airline or a used car salesman,” said Jon Marcus, higher education editor at The Hechinger Report and one of the Tuition Tracker’s producers.…Read More

Washington online university aims for state financial aid

Washington State’s only accredited online university is getting closer to providing state tuition assistance, KNDO reports. WGU Washington (Western Governors University, Washington) is a fully online university that aims to offer affordable and convenient options for anyone pursuing higher education. Students can currently apply and receive federal financial aid, but a Senate bill, (recently passed in the Washington State House and Senate) would ultimately let students apply for state need grants too. WGU Washington Chancellor, Jean Floten, says since the majority of the students are working adults, the extra financial aid makes a huge difference. “We do our share by low tuition,” she said, “but for that student that is confronted with, ‘do I feed my kids or pay my mortgage,’ this is the difference between being able to do that and not have to take that second job.”

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Amazon to cover most of employees’ tuition

Employees must work for Amazon for three years before receiving tuition benefits.

Amazon will pay up to $2,000 for employees taking online or in-person college courses while working toward an associate’s degree or a technical certification, and educators expect other corporations to replicate the model if it proves successful.

Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO, used the homepage of his company’s website to announce that Amazon warehouse employees would soon have 95 percent of their tuition prepaid if they work toward a two-year degree or certificate in engineering, IT, health care, transportation, and a range of other academic concentrations.

Educators and ed-tech officials said Amazon’s tuition offer differs from similar corporate programs in two ways: The company will only prepay tuition for students entering fields deemed in-demand and high-paying by the federal government—rather than academic areas related to the company’s mission—and the program will cover the vast majority of course and book costs, not just a fraction.…Read More

Cheaper student loans, but shortage of college grants likely in 2011 and 2012

According to U.S. News & World Report, although the federal government will hand out billions of dollars more in college grants in 2011 and 2012 than ever before, the nation’s financial aid programs as a whole are not keeping up with rising tuition, government officials and financial aid analysts say. That means for millions of America’s working and middle class families, “college is going to become less affordable,” warns Mark Kantrowitz, publisher and founder of and the scholarship search site The widening gap between college costs and financial resources is forcing a growing number of students into one of three bad choices, says Faith Sandler, executive director of the Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis. More students are choosing cheaper colleges that, she says, often “don’t match their capabilities.” Too many other students “borrow too, too much.” Those who can’t stomach either of those options may give up on college altogether, she fears…

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