Bringing The World Home To You

© 2023 WUNC North Carolina Public Radio
120 Friday Center Dr
Chapel Hill, NC 27517
919.445.9150 | 800.962.9862
91.5 Chapel Hill 88.9 Manteo 90.9 Rocky Mount 91.1 Welcome 91.9 Fayetteville 90.5 Buxton 94.1 Lumberton 99.9 Southern Pines
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

The Perks Of A Private College (Hint: It's Not The Cost)

Evan Bonham is a senior majoring in recorded music at New York University Tisch School of the Arts.
Alex Welsh for NPR
Evan Bonham is a senior majoring in recorded music at New York University Tisch School of the Arts.

Imagine you had the option of going to a top state university on a full ride or a prestigious Ivy League for about $20,000 a year. Would it be a hard decision? What would you choose?

Four years ago, Becca Arbacher had to make that decision. She chose Columbia in New York City over the University of Michigan.

And she's glad she did.

"Being at Columbia has offered me some really incredible opportunities that I wouldn't have otherwise," says Arbacher. "It's kind of impossible for me to guess what my experience would have been like at Michigan."

This week, we're meeting students and families that made different decisions about college. Some chose the big state school while others went with the most popular option: community college.

Arbacher is among the minority: Around 20 percent chose a private, and more expensive, college education.

In her case, the financial burden fell to her widowed mother, Judith. But in other families, loans make an expensive school possible.

Evan Bonham selected NYU's Tisch School of the Arts to study music production. He has about $75,000 in loans, and looking back, he wishes he had talked more about the cost of college.

"Now that I'm getting ready to graduate, the debt is really starting to creep up on me," he says.

But Bonham's mother, Angela, reminded us that it's not just about value for money, but about values. The value of providing your child the best educational experience she or he can attain, even if the cost hurts.

"If you've told your children early on ... that if they do well they can go to the college that they'd like to go to," she says, "then you hold to that promise."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit

Prior to his retirement, Robert Siegel was the senior host of NPR's award-winning evening newsmagazine All Things Considered. With 40 years of experience working in radio news, Siegel hosted the country's most-listened-to, afternoon-drive-time news radio program and reported on stories and happenings all over the globe, and reported from a variety of locations across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia. He signed off in his final broadcast of All Things Considered on January 5, 2018.
More Stories