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Are you paying part of your roommate’s tuition? For many college students, the answer to that question is “yes,” thanks in part to a now-standard practice that contributes to rising tuition bills and crushing student debt.The Wall Street Journal explained in a story last week that most colleges and universities in the United States have incorporated subsidies that pay for scholarships and discounts for some students into the tuition price paid by others.Subsidies have long been the norm at private schools without large endowments, where more than half of the tuition some students pay can go to financial aid scholarships for others, but the practice has spread to state schools, where anywhere from 5 to 40 percent of the tuition bill is now set aside for scholarships, the Journal reported. The amount of money diverted from one student’s bill to pay another’s rose more than 160 percent over eight years at state schools surveyed for the story.There are several factors driving the increase in tuition subsidies, chief among them inflation and a decrease in the amount of public support going to state schools, but the impact across higher education is clear: Constant increases in tuition and ever-rising student debt as the cost of a college education soars. Discounts to those inflated tuition bills offered by many schools to entice prospective students are another factor obscuring the true cost of a college education.But that’s not the case at Grove City College, where keeping a quality education in a thoroughly Christian environment affordable has been the mission for 138 years. A year’s tuition and room and board at Grove City College costs $22,988. That’s less than half the average cost at competing private schools. No additional fees are charged. How does the College do it? It’s simple, really.Tuition at Grove City College reflects the actual cost of educating a student. It’s not inflated with subsidies or by design to create the impression of quality or so that deep discounts can be offered to some prospective students at the expense of others. Each student pays only for his or her own education. Transparent pricing, a principled stand against taking state or federal money, conservative fiscal management and a time-tested commitment to living within its means – an old fashioned concept that actually works – are the principals that allow Grove City College to assure students and their families that their hard-earned dollars aren’t being used to give someone else a free lunch. Financial aid is of course available to deserving students, but not at the expense of someone else. Generous donors, not fellow students, fund Grove City College scholarships.Read the Wall Street Journal story HERE.