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January 18, 2017

The cost of college has been rising much faster than overall consumer prices—and incomes—for years. One surprising reason: Campus cafeteria prices have been rising twice as quickly as the average American’s food costs. As a result, what parents now spend to feed their undergraduates at college dining halls is almost twice what they’d spend feeding their child at home. Part of that is because colleges are simply responding to demand from its students (that is, its customers) for more and better food. But that’s not the only factor behind those costly meal plans.

Best wishes,

Lots of college application deadlines are looming. Feb. 1 is the last day to apply to dozens of great colleges, including the University of Michigan, Indiana University, and University of Wisconsin. Here’s a list of some top colleges and their deadlines. MONEY

More than 800 college programs flunk this new affordability test
The federal government found that more than 800 career-oriented programs—training everyone from accountants to veterinary assistants—produce graduates with so much debt that their student loan payments eat up at least 12% of their income. MONEY

The latest numbers show where it pays to apply early...
Nick Anderson at The Washington Post has started keeping track of the admission rates at a handful of elite colleges. They show that the admissions rates for early applicants at some elite colleges, such as Williams, are much higher than they are for regular applicants. MIT, however, is a different story. Washington Post

...But maybe early admission programs aren’t a good thing
The executive director of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation—one of America’s most generous providers of scholarships—has just called on the government to end early decision and early action admission programs. The fall application deadlines— some as early as Nov. 1—amount to “affirmative action for the wealthy,” writes Harold O. Levy at Inside Higher Ed. The problem is, he says, they give advantage to students with parents sophisticated enough to help their kids assemble winning applications so early in senior year. Inside Higher Ed

Another governor pushes for free college.
Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo proposes two years of free college. Earlier this month, New York’s governor floated a proposal for free college for anyone from a family earning less than $125,000. Inside Higher Ed

How to make your kid an investing genius
A few lessons from the school of Mom and Dad can literally pay big dividends in your child’s financial life. MONEY

What your and your kid’s resumes should look like in 2017
Lots of good advice from experts on the surprising formats that wow employers. MONEY

This Week's Deadlines and Scholarships

Featured scholarship
Given the inauguration and inauguration protests this week, perhaps your student will be inspired to write an essay about the pros and cons of civil disobedience. That’s the subject of a contest sponsored by The Bill of Rights Institute, which will award the writer of the winning essay a $5,000 scholarship. The contest deadline is Feb. 5. More info

Upcoming deadlines:

  • Feb. 1 is the FAFSA deadline for Missouri residents seeking to qualify for state grants. Eligible students who miss that deadline will be awarded aid “based on funding availability,” according to the state’s higher education department.
  • Feb. 15 is the deadline for families in Connecticut to file their FAFSAs in time to qualify for state financial aid.
  • Feb. 28 is the last late registration date for the March 11 sitting of the SAT.

ABOUT KIM: Kim Clark, a senior writer for MONEY, paid for classes at four colleges—and degrees from two of them—with jobs, loans, scholarships, and lots of generous financial help from her parents and grandparents. She’s been covering the ins and outs of paying for college for almost 10 years.

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