July 24, 2006

Price discrimination vs. lower sticker prices for college tuition

While looking for papers at work today I stumbled on this study that looks at the real tuition paid vs. family income of students at Williams College, one of the colleges with the highest tuition-sticker prices in the country:

One usefully concrete number: the average student in the bottom twenty percent of the income distribution pays $1,683 while the full tuition is $32,470.
Now tell me, does it make more sense for no one to get money off (based on need) and for everyone to pay $10,000, like many state schools operate, or for private schools to price discriminate, providing an extremely expensive education at nearly everyone's willingness-to-pay?More to the point, why is our private system of higher education more socialist/progressive than our publicly funded system?