Last year, the average tuition for a private college or university hit an all-time high – at more than $25,000 per year! That’s about half the average income for a typical North American family. What if you were offered a bare-bones private education for only $10,000 per year? That’s the cost of tuition at a new branch of Southern New Hampshire University in Salem, New Hampshire. According to the Boston Globe, you might mistake this school for a dentist’s office. It’s located on the third floor of an ordinary looking office building. In the main lobby, you’ll find a couple of fake plants, some vending machines, a stack of magazines, and not much else! Down the hall, you’ll find a row of classrooms – each with about 10 students inside – studying full-credit courses like math, psychology, history and English. School officials call this a “no frills” education. However, experts say it could become the wave of the future – especially at a time when the economy’s in a downturn, and student loans are hard to come by.
As you might expect, parents are raving about this no-frills option. It mainly appeals to parents who don’t like the idea of sending their kid to a traditional dorm-based college – where they might be buying into four years of “Animal House.” So instead of living in a dorm, students simply commute from home. Of course, some experts worry that by eliminating the dorm experience, students may miss out on social activities that are integral to making the transition from childhood to adulthood. A recent survey found that by senior year, 85% of college students commute to school anyway! Besides: All those gleaming new amenities you see on campus these days – like a state-of-the-art fitness center, or a multi-million dollar food court – don’t really improve education. All they do is make a school more competitive, and drive up the price of tuition.