Conversations on Costs #1: The Cost and Price of College

Bradley University Student Center. I’m Tom Richmond, and with
me today is Dave Pardieck. Together, we’re going to have
a series of conversations about the process of figuring
out how to afford college. From the price to the
steps in the process, and really some of, I
think, the underlying ideas that help– no
matter whether you’re looking at just Bradley or
a lot of other colleges. So we’ve got to come
up with a series title. We got to tell this something. We should have probably thought
of that before they hit record. DAVE PARDIECK: Ben and Jerry’s? TOM RICHMOND: I like it. Especially, we’re starting
this first episode this summer. Let’s get some Ben and Jerry’s. We can get it from the
pod right behind us that’s here in the student center. I’d go, maybe though, with
the Tom and Dave show. DAVE PARDIECK: I would go
with the Dave and Tom show. TOM RICHMOND: OK, neither
one of these– we’re not going to agree. [MUSIC PLAYS] TOM RICHMOND: So I guess
the first conversation should be kind of where I think
a lot of people are starting. They’re looking at colleges. They’re worried about
the cost because costs have gotten a lot more
over the last 20 years. And people are saying,
I’ve got more than one kid, I’ve got to figure this out. Students are saying, how do I
ask my parents for an amount I can’t even imagine. So we want to talk a little
bit about the price of college. DAVE PARDIECK: Yeah. Well, no doubt about it,
certainly the one constant has been– over the 40 years or
so that I’ve been involved, nearly 30 for you– is
that the college education scene, the whole search process,
finding the right college has continued to
evolve and changing. And that’s a very healthy thing
for families and for students as they seek
different things from their educational experiences. The one constant,
I would say– and I think you will
agree with this– is that if there is a presenting
question from families and students as they
begin the process, it has always been– maybe as
even a series of questions, all related– things
like I don’t know how we can pay for college. I don’t know that we’ve
planned adequately. I don’t know, from a
parent perspective, can I afford the right
college or university experience from our students. That is clearly the
overriding question that families begin with. And I’m going to argue,
Tom, for a second, that maybe that’s
the wrong question to begin with for families. TOM RICHMOND: I feel like
you’re on a good path here. I remember, I’m that
person that came to Bradley as a high school student. Nobody in my family
had done this before. And I met you. And that was my first point. I know I want an
experience like this. But I can’t
comprehend the price, and I– how– where do I start? I came to you for that help, DAVE PARDIECK: Yeah. And let me suggest that
what you were asking when you and I first met
25 plus years ago was a little different
than what you really were intending to discover. You came into my office. And you sat down. And you said how much
does Bradley charge? In essence, what’s
Bradley’s price? How much do you
charge for tuition? How much you charge
for room and board? How much do you– that
was the price of Bradley. What I shared with you was
something slightly different. I said well, Tom, because you
qualify for a scholarship, because you’ll get some support
from the federal government and the state of Illinois,
I gave you the cost. Which was the price minus
the financial assistance. That didn’t make you unique. Because the vast
majority of Bradley students, 90 plus percent,
will receive some form of financial
assistance that changes the price to a cost
that is much lower and is much more manageable. Now, having to find
cost versus price– let me suggest what
you really were seeking when you and I visited, and
what families are really asking when they talk with us. What they’re really
looking for help with is a value assessment. OK, I understand what the
cost is going to be to me. But what is the value of a
Bradley experience versus fill in the blank, as they
compare different colleges and universities. TOM RICHMOND: Well, whatever
you said that day worked. I became a Bradley student. And this year, my son just
finished his freshman year. So something stuck. And I became an admissions
counselor for Bradley. And I still remember trying
to explain this to people. And I repeat a lot of
things I learned from you and will be sharing in
these conversations. And I think it was best
summarized in the first article I read in US News
and World Report. And it said, it really doesn’t
matter how good a school is if it isn’t affordable. DAVE PARDIECK: Yeah. TOM RICHMOND: It also doesn’t
matter how affordable a school is if it isn’t very good. And so trying to determine
what makes a university good or makes it a good
value, I think, is where we want to go
in the next conversation. DAVE PARDIECK: Absolutely. TOM RICHMOND: And
there’s a lot to that. So I think that’s
where we’ll pick up next time in our next
part of the series, talking about the value and how
you can compare universities. And ultimately, what’s
the expectations you have. And can a specific
university fulfill it? DAVE PARDIECK: Yep. Absolutely. Understanding, creating
a value assessment. TOM RICHMOND: I like it. So come back and
learn more with us. We’re going to go through
a series of conversations. We’ll do it right here
in the student center. And hopefully, people
will come along and learn about the
process like we’ve done. [MUSIC PLAYS] DAVE PARDIECK:
Yeah, that’s right, we need a little
theme music, don’t we? Well, I think they’ll
figure that out. TOM RICHMOND: Welcome to Bradley
University’s Michael Student Center. My name’s Tom Richmond. And with me today is a beeping
sound in the background. [LAUGHTER]

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