Experts who know precisely how the government calculates EFCs say there's one overarching reason for this shock: the formula is so outdated--it's loosely based on a family budget from 1967--that it's no surprise many 21st Century families are astonished when they receive their EFC estimates.
With the arrival of January each year, we college presidents have our work clearly cut out for us.
But for everything that is predictable and knowable, there are many recent developments and trends that bring uncertainty, and demand vigilance.
If institutions sacrifice quality to decrease costs, they will decrease their potential to attract and retain students. In the long run, sacrificing quality to increase affordability just won't work. We have to increase affordability in other ways.
When choosing a college, remember that tuition cost shouldn't be the only way to calculate the value of your degree -- investing in schools with better internships, contacts or special programs can help you continue to build wealth years after you graduate.
A report submitted to the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) details shocking statistics regarding faculty salaries, which have been largely stagnant in recent years, failing to even keep up with the rate of inflation.
Colleges and universities have long been concerned with the issues of controlling cost and providing the neediest students with access to a good education, and we welcome President Obama's interest in providing solutions.
Why should middle-class students pay more for loans than is absolutely necessary, all the while padding the government's coffers and enabling state universities to build facilities that the students will only get to use for four years?
Paying thousands of dollars a semester to cram into a crowded lecture hall with a thousand other to receive the distilled knowledge of a tenured professor doesn't make much sense when the same lectures can be accessed online.
The hyper-inflation of tuition is well documented. By any measure, the cost of college attendance has increased dramatically. Higher education tends to be debt financed. The student loan bubble may well be like the subprime mortgage bubble -- only worse.
There have been times when I have failed to realize the true privilege of choice. Attending college, let alone choosing between multiple colleges, is an opportunity that many teens will never experience.
Now it's two months after graduation. I have an Ivy League master's degree, but I certainly don't feel $60,000 smarter. In fact, I feel a bit like I've snapped out of the piper's trance, only after stepping off the cliff.
There is neither a single nor a simple reason for the exploding cost of college. Quality higher education has always been relatively expensive. In fact, it is often more costly to deliver than what is paid by tuition.