Private versus public higher education is a consistently controversial topic. In my up-and-coming book, the third of my trilogy, Excellence vs. Equality, the economics of a college education are discussed.
For in-state tuition (tuition only; not including fees, room and board, etc.) in 2013/2014, the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill charged $5,800; the University of Texas – Austin charged $9,000; and Ohio State University cost $9,750.
Now look at the prices of private schools in the following year:
The College Board reported that between 2009/2010 and 2013/2014, the net average cost of a public institution rose to about $3,000. Meanwhile, the net average cost of a private institution rose to about $12,000. These numbers are averaged to include cheaper private institutions, such as Brigham Young University, and to include average grants/scholarships/aid money. However, it still follows a general trend that private institutions cost at least 4 times as much as public ones.
Increasingly, a number of pundits are questioning the economic value of a college education. Given $50,000 per year for four years (cost for college tuition and room and board for many private colleges), that is $200,000 placed in a money market or insurance account at age 18, compounded at 4% per year for 50 years (22+45 = 67 years, the age when Social Security starts), yields a better lifetime return ($1.4 million) than the difference earned between a college graduate and high school graduate (slightly more than $900,000). At 6% the yield is $3.7 million and at 8% the yield is a whopping $9.4 million or $8.5 million more than the lifetime income between a college and high school graduate.-Allan Ornstein, Excellence v. Equality
In my opinion, investing the money that could be spent on a private institution, which relies on elitism and biased judgments instead of only merit, is money better spent.