How Much Do You Pay for College?

February 11, 2013

Over the past decade and a half, I've given talks on dozens of college campuses about the need to increase socioeconomic diversity, but never before had I witnessed what I observed during a recent speech at Middlebury College. Before introducing me, students from the sponsoring organization, Money at Midd, began the forum by publicly announcing their names and how much they and their families paid each year in tuition and fees. The first student, Samuel Koplinka-Loehr, said that his family paid about $18,000, and that he added $3,000 from his job. He passed the microphone to the next student, who said his family paid the full $56,000 comprehensive fee. A young woman said that her family could not afford to pay anything, but that she worked to pay $1,200 toward college costs. I was dumbstruck, then elated, by the frank nature of the exchange. At Middlebury—and on campuses throughout the country—class is coming out of the closet.