The number one concern prospective students and their families have regarding higher education is this: Can I afford college?

Clearly, student debt is a hot topic these days. And although there is so much to be excited about when it comes to college — and so many benefits to choosing a private school — it's completely natural to be nervous about cost.

Ready for some good news?

We're here to tell you that much of what you hear is actually inaccurate, and as the admissions team at an affordable private college, we're happy to see that The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) has set the facts straight with their 2022 report on student debt.

Take a look at the truth behind these five common myths. 

MYTH #1: Many students owe more than $100,000 when they graduate.

FACT: The CIC's report states that in 2021, only 7 percent of all borrowers owed that much or more. And actually, the majority (75 percent) owe less than $40,000. Here's another stat to consider: A college degree, on average, adds $1,000,000 to lifetime income, according to the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

MYTH #2: Students need to borrow an unrealistic amount of money to enroll in a private college.

FACT: First of all, nearly three out of 10 students who recently graduated from a private college had zero educational debt. Now let’s look at those with debt. 

The difference between the average debt levels, the report says, for public versus private school graduates is $4,500—and the average private college graduate's starting salary is larger—by $4,282. (And get this: Siena grads make $500,000 more in lifetime earnings than SUNY grads.)

MYTH #3: Only wealthy families can afford to send their children to private colleges.

FACT: Not true at all! According to the U.S. Department of Education, 29% of undergraduates at private non-doctoral institutions are from families whose incomes are less than $40,000. No one's background or financial circumstances should get in the way of their education; that's what we believe at Siena.

MYTH #4: It's very difficult to receive financial aid at private colleges.

FACT: In its report, the CIC notes that students at private colleges actually receive MORE grant aid than those at public universities. Case in point: More than 97 percent of our students at Siena receive financial aid, and Siena funded $62 million for our undergraduates last year. We’re also guaranteeing every admitted student will receive at least $57,000 in scholarships. (Check out the Siena Guarantee.) 

MYTH #5: You’ll pay the tuition price listed on the website. 

FACT: Wrong! On average, says the CIC, students at private colleges actually end up paying less than 60 percent of the published cost of tuition. And that's true for Siena students, who end up paying much less than the listed tuition. Refer back to our Guarantee

We hope these facts help you realize that private college is not only affordable—but that private college graduates are often in a better position financially than those from a public institution. 

Want to chat more about this topic? We'd be happy to walk you through the cost of attending Siena.