Affordable

28% of private college students graduate with ZERO debt.

Do the math:
Generous financial aid

The advertised tuition at a 4-year private college reflects the actual cost, and that may be daunting and misleading. Ninety-three percent of students at private colleges get grants, scholarships and other financial aid, averaging $20,000 per student per year. As a result, the cost of a degree from a private college is more affordable than it might seem.

Do the math:
Total cost of the degree

The total out-of-pocket cost of a bachelor’s degree from a private college is often comparable to that of a public university – even with in-state tuition, especially when on-time graduation is factored in. In addition to generous financial aid, three out of five students at a private college complete their degree in four years, while three of five public university students take six years to graduate. Those extra years not only cost state university students extra tuition and fees; it also delays their entry into the workforce and that means lost earnings – to the tune of $50,000 a year, on average.

Time is Money

3 out of 5 Oregon private college students finish in four years;

3 out of 5 Oregon public university students finish in six years.

*Earnings based the national average of college graduate income ($50,219 per year).
Data Source: National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities

Finishing college – and finishing on time – has important implications for out-of-pocket cost and student debt. Every semester beyond four years not only means additional costs (tuition, fees, room and board), it also means lost earnings (what might have been earned, having graduated and gained employment).

FACT

Students receive more financial aid at private colleges.

On average, they receive over three times ($17,088 vs $5,476) the amount of institutional aid as do students at public institutions and over five times ($17,088 vs $3,104) as much as students at for-profit institutions. Private colleges give students nearly six times as much institutional grant aid as does the federal government.

MYTH

Students at public institutions receive more financial aid than do students at private colleges and universities.

What types of financial aid are available?

There are multiple ways and places to seek out scholarships. The key is to start early.

Key places to start your search:
  • Fill out FAFSA
  • Your high school website/counselor’s office
  • Local community foundations
  • The school where you’ll be applying: Check their website or contact their Financial Aid Office
  • Scholarships and grants (scholarships.com or fastweb)
  • Private scholarships
  • Federal student loans
Data Source: Council of Independent Colleges, November 2017

FACT

In 2014, only 4% of all borrowers owed $100,000 or more in student debt.

The average debt level of bachelor's degree recipients at private colleges and universities is $19,900 – less than the price of a modest automobile and less than 2010-2011. Meanwhile, debt at public institutions continues to rise. The average debt load for private college students who have debt is about the same as the students graduating from Oregon’s public universities.

MYTH

Many students owe staggering debt when they graduate.

The truth about student debt:

At Oregon’s private colleges, 93% of students receive institutional grants and scholarships, and the average institutional grant is $20,000 per student per year. 28% of Oregon private college students graduate with zero debt.

The loan default rates for students at private colleges and universities are the lowest in the state and half that of 4-year private nonprofits nationwide. Low default rates say something about the affordability of private college, and higher graduation rates underscore a commitment to helping students finish on time.

Data Source: Council of Independent Colleges, November 2017