Originally Posted by intparent
5. Some of this talk bugs me because remember this -- every penny you get tuition reduced by through whatever means you use is paid for by someone else. It is paid for by a taxpayer or another parent/student (many of them saved more or have had two parents working to earn the tuition) or a donor to the university. The expectation in the US college system is that parents have the primary responsibility to pay for college. They are first in line -- help is intended for those who would not be able to attend college any other way. We haven't talked about this, but some kids choose to go abroad to college.
Here's a little speculative thought process on this:
Imagine if college tuition wasn't actually a zero-sum closed system...

What if a school sought out students likely to become future government policy makers?
What would happen if the statistics of incoming freshman and graduates were used to solicit new customers?
What if they went all modern advertiser and used tricks like markup/markdown? (increase tuiton by 20%, then send out 20% discount coupons.)
Or had the idea that giving someone money now signficantly increases the chance that person will give considerably more money later on?
What if a school competed and advertised based on reputation? Listed famous graduates, nobel prize winners, diversity statistics, winning sport teams, etc? What if testimonials from former customers helped attract new customers?

In an environment like that I would start to suspect that they have an interest in attracting certain types of students who will either support their statistics or have a probability of donating significant money later. I would also think in a business-oriented non-altruistic thought exercise like above that "help" is NOT intended for those who would not be able to attend college any other way but for those who fulfill the business objectives. In this bizarre fantasy world, then every penny reduced is a penny that shows up in the annual report under advertising costs.

*shiver* glad I live in a different world than that one.