(PHILADELPHIA) – The cost of college can vary widely between low-priced community colleges and elite private universities.

duncan arne side patloeb1 Part 2:   Private vs. Public Colleges

(US education secretary Arne Duncan at Community College of Philadelphia. Photo by Pat Loeb)

What do students at each kind of school get for their tuition dollar?

Community College of Philadelphia recently hosted a special guest, US education secretary Arne Duncan (right).

“Community colleges, I hope, feel this is their moment in the sun,” he told the gathering of community college presidents (see related story).

With private college approaching a quarter of a million dollars for a four-year degree, Duncan is among those advising students to take their first two years at a community college.

CCP president Steve Curtis says his school offers distinct advantages.

“We provide the kind of support around teaching and learning that most four-year schools don’t,” Curtis says.

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(Claudia Dreifus. Photo provided)

Did he just say most four year schools don’t provide support for teaching and learning?

That could be because so many universities have become multiversities, according to writer Claudia Dreifus (right).  Her book with co-author Andrew Hacker, Higher Education?, describes huge undergraduate classes taught by grad students or adjuncts while tenured professors do research and student athletes command lots of resources.

Dreifus says part of the problem is middle-class parents who treat their child’s college decision like a status symbol:  “I think a lot of private schools are sort of the equivalent of a Louis Vuitton purse.”

Dreifus says many of the costs go to the lifestyle that students lead those four years, with gourmet cafeterias, climbing walls in the gym, and lots of activities.

Hear Pat Loeb’s entire interview with author Claudia Dreifus in this CBS Philly podcast…

Reported by Pat Loeb, KYW Newsradio 1060.

Hear the Regional Affairs Council podcasts…

Part 1: Why Is College So Expensive?
Part 2: Public vs. Private Colleges
Part 3: Is College Worth The Money?
Part 4: How To Pay For College

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