Climbing Costs Strain Colleges, Families

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Three
or four times a week, Nicole Angeli straps on ropes and harnesses
and clambers up the 33-foot climbing wall in the Johns Hopkins University
recreation center. The 22-year-old senior says her strenuous climbs
reduce stress from the demands of classes.

But the climbing
wall, installed by Hopkins in 2002 at a cost of $100,000, also represents
the lengths to which universities go to pamper students – and one
reason why college costs have soared in recent years, far outstripping
inflation.

Hopkins is
now twice as expensive as it was 15 years ago. For next academic
year, the total cost for Hopkins undergraduates, including tuition,
room and board, will be $53,390. In 1994-1995, the cost was $27,040.
But the sticker shock extends well beyond Hopkins; the average tuition
at the nation’s private colleges has more than doubled since 1995.

"Students
are looking for Internet access and climbing walls and swimming
pools," said Fred Puddester, senior associate dean for finance
and administration in Hopkins’ Krieger School of Arts and Sciences.
"These are amenities that all of our competitors have and that
we need to attract those students."

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the rest of the article

May
4, 2009

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