Richard Anderson in The Nation:
Public universities in California may have been dethroned as being cheaper than private schools for middle-income students. According to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, schools like Harvard and Princeton provide a cheaper alternative to schools like San Jose State and University of California, Berkeley.
Private schools are generally even cheaper than Cal State Fullerton. To go to Harvard, it costs $4,000 for a family with an annual income of $30,000. At CSUF, it costs $16,331 for a full-time student.
According to the Bay Area News Group, a family of four making $130,000 a year would have to pay $24,000 for tuition, room, board and other expenses to send one child to a CSU. Harvard costs $36,000, but financial aid makes it the cheaper option.
Financial aid drops Harvard tuition costs down to $17,000 a year, under San Jose State’s $23,557 and even under the $19,500 it costs to go to UC Berkeley. While Princeton may be slightly more expensive ($19,830) than UC Berkeley, it is still considerably cheaper than San Jose State.
Private schools used to be considered more expensive than public, but that trend has changed for a couple of reasons.
According to the Social Security Administration’s website, in order for a college student under the age of 22 to receive Supplemental Security Income, the maximum he or she can earn annually is $6,600. However, Harvard’s maximum limit for receiving aid is much higher.