I think a change is coming in college admissions. As more colleges become outrageously expensive, more families will ask, "Is it actually
Sure, smart families have always asked that question when it came to college. But the colleges they thought were "the best" were immune to that examination. Most families wouldn't question the worth of attending a prestigious college. They might not have forked over their life savings for a college they'd never heard of, but for Princeton, it was just assumed that the benefits of attending will pay the family back both literally and figuratively. And that's what I think is going to change. Families are going to become much more college cost conscious. More families will consider whether the education at a private schools that costs $50,000 a year to attend is really that much better than the education a student could receive at a public university for a comparative fraction of the cost.
Other people are asking the question already.
Washington monthly just published this article called "The Prestige Racket" that examines one college's attempts to join the rankings of the most prestigious schools, and what it's costing the students who attend.
Welcome to today’s increasingly elite higher education system, where lavish campuses, high tuition, and huge undergraduate debt loads have become the norm. In dogged competition for affluent, high-scoring students, today’s second-tier colleges aim to achieve higher prestige by aping the superficial characteristics of America’s traditionally elite schools. Indeed, there are few alternatives for ambitious administrators. “If you want to rise, you try to do the things that make you look like Harvard,” says David Labaree, a professor of education at Stanford University. “It’s hard to take a different path.”
And a 23 year-old recent college grad just published his book, "Debt-Free U: How I Paid for an Outstanding College Education Without Loans, Scholarships, or Mooching Off My Parents." Jay Mathews says,
It is the perfect antidote for those seeing the unattainable top schools
on the new U.S. News & World Report list and wondering how they
will ever be a success going to No-Name University. It is thoroughly
researched and taps the experiences of a student who investigated the
odd and often-indefensible ways college is sold to families while he was
going through the experience himself. ”