Weighing the costs of education
Weighing the costs of education - 
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Kai Ryssdal: Here's something to interrupt the relaxing summer of a lot of high schoolers out there. It's usually fall of senior year or so that the college search begins in earnest. But really, why wait?

This week, all 31 private colleges in the state of Indiana are opening their doors to prospective students. A lot of states, in fact, now have some kind of private college week.

From the Marketplace Education Desk at WYPR in Baltimore, Amy Scott explains it's all about perceptions.

Amy Scott: Private college is expensive, right? Look at Hanover College in southeastern Indiana. The liberal arts campus sits on a bluff overlooking the Ohio River Valley. Tuition is $28,000, but:

Sue DeWine: That sticker price is frequently not the price -- not anywhere close to the price -- that students pay.

That's Hanover's president, Sue DeWine. With financial aid from the college, the average student pays roughly half-price, not counting grants from the government and other sources. It's still more than Indiana's flagship public university, but within reach.

DeWine says that's part of the message Hanover and other private colleges in the state have for students this week. She used to work at a state university.

DeWine: I was a faculty member in higher education for 25 years, and I had no idea that we could afford a private school for our own children. Had I known that, I would have done things differently.

Minnesota, Wisconsin and Virginia all have some version of private college week. Some of these schools struggled to keep enrollments up during the downturn.

Paul Hassen represents the competition. He's with the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities. Hassen says there are more than enough students to go around.

Paul Hassen: There's just no way for all of the students who want to go to college today to attend public universities -- certainly not the flagship public universities.

Indiana's public universities will have their moment too. "College Go Week" in the fall promotes all the state's colleges.

I'm Amy Scott for Marketplace.

Follow Amy Scott at @amyreports