The Real Price Of College : Planet Money There's a huge gap between the sticker price for college tuition and the price students actually pay. On today's show, we try to figure out why.

The Real Price Of College

The Real Price Of College

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How much are they paying?
Chuck Zovko/courtesy Lafayette College

Note: Today's show is a rerun. It originally ran on May 11th, 2012. You can find more recent data on college costs here.

On today's show, we visit beautiful Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania.

Price of one year at Lafayette: $55,688. Up 63 percent from the price a decade ago.

At least, that's the sticker price — the price you get if you add up tuition, room and board, and all the fees listed on the school's website.

But there's a huge gap between the sticker price and what the average student actually pays after figuring in grants and scholarships.

That's true at private colleges around the country. Nationwide, the average sticker price is more than twice as high as the price students actually pay, and the gap is getting wider.

It turns out, it makes economic sense to have a high sticker price and offer lots of discounts. On the show today, we explain why.

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