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Monday, March 15, 2021, 8:00 PM until 9:30 PM
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An Entirely New Road Map for the Biggest Financial Decision Your Family Will Ever Make


Join HRP Mamas for a special evening with Ron Lieber, New York Times money columnist, dad, and author, to discuss his new book, The Price You Pay For College.

The hugely popular New York Times "Your Money" columnist and author of the bestselling The Opposite of Spoiled offers a deeply reported and emotionally honest approach to the biggest financial decision families will ever make: what to pay for college.

Sending a teenager to a flagship state university for four years of on-campus living costs more than $100,000 in many parts of the United States. Meanwhile, many families of freshmen attending selective private colleges will spend triple--over $300,000. With the same passion, smarts, and humor that infuse his personal finance column, Ron Lieber offers a much-needed roadmap to help families navigate this difficult and often confusing journey. The Price You Pay for College gives parents the clarity they need to make informed choices and helps restore the joy and wonder the college experience is supposed to represent.

The New York Times says:

Understood as a self-help book, “The Price You Pay for College” represents an extraordinary achievement: It is comprehensive and detailed without being tedious, practical without being banal, impeccably well judged and unusually rigorous. But the main title hints at a sensibility deeper than friendly advice. The terrain the book charts is too treacherous to traverse unscathed, exacting a toll from all who pass through it. Fidelity to genre prevents Lieber from developing this sensibility into a critique that explains what has gone wrong and argues for a better way. To learn to navigate a system is not yet to grasp its causes and consequences, or to know how to change it."





Ron Lieber is the author of The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous, and Smart About Money, which was an instant New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller when it was released in 2015. “The Price You Pay for College: An Entirely New Roadmap for the Biggest Financial Decision Your Family Will Ever Make,” was published by HarperCollins in January, 2021.

Ron has been the “Your Money” columnist for The New York Times since 2008. Before coming to The Times, he wrote the “Green Thumb” personal finance column for The Wall Street Journal and was part of the startup team at the paper’s Personal Journal section.

Ron’s first book Taking Time Off: Inspiring Stories of Students Who Enjoyed Successful Breaks from College and How You Can Plan Your Own, co-authored with Colin Hall, was a New York Times bestseller in 1996. He also wrote Upstart Start­-Ups, a book for young entrepreneurs, and was the co-author of a guidebook to the best entry­-level jobs in the United States.

Ron spent 14 years at the Francis W. Parker School in Chicago and graduated from Amherst College. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two daughters.

Editorial Reviews

If you have a teen headed for college in a few years, you literally can’t afford to skip this candid guide by The New York Times' 'Your Money' columnist Ron Lieber. He grills college presidents and financial aid gatekeepers to answer all your biggest questions about the right ways to save, borrow and bargain for a better deal."

Audrey Goodson Kingo

"Aims to provide parents and students financing their own way with the information they need to make more informed, financially sound goals and decisions."


A deeply reported, conventional-wisdom-busting guide to a subject that many of even the most financially adept and prepared individuals find terrifying. The book arrives at a moment when families are re-scrutinizing the price schools charge for tuition; how much debt students take on, and what exactly is worth the money and why.

Town & Country

Can you pay for college without being broke until long after retirement? Sure—and this book offers plenty of pointers on how to do so.

Today, attending a top-flight school can cost nearly $350,000. Yet, as New York Times financial columnist Lieber asks, pointedly, “what is the return on investment going to be?” There are other questions: Which schools are better at which disciplines? What kind of financial aid is available? Is your child suited for college? One central question, of course, is why higher education is so expensive. The answers are several, ranging from the recent movement of cash-strapped states to reduce or eliminate education funding to the fact that highly educated people—the tenured professors whom students usually encounter only in their junior or senior years—expect to be paid a decent wage, as do the endless layers of administrators and support staff. Lieber counsels that there are remedies available, though not even a committed high school guidance counselor can possibly know how to navigate them all: A student can go to community college to satisfy basic requirements, for example, though he or she better do the homework to be sure all the credits will transfer to their university of choice. A student can join the military and get GI Bill support. However, writes the author, “anyone considering enlisting in the armed forces for financial reasons alone should please think hard about the uncertainty they’re signing up for.” Perhaps his most important point is that in most instances, college tuition is negotiable and that the worst thing that can happen if you ask for a break is to be told no. But is college worth it? Quite apart from the educational aspect, Lieber holds, the answer to his first question is that the annualized ROI “is about 14 percent.” Given that the stock market is typically half that, it’s not a bad bet. A revealing and useful guide for the aspiring consumer of higher education.

Kirkus Reviews


"Your Money" columnist for the New York Times, Lieber takes on the knotty issue of what college is really worth now that a flagship state university can cost more than $100,000 for four years of on-campus living, and private colleges much more. First, he explains who pays what, how financial aid got so complicated, and how merit aid has become a new competitive factor among schools. Then he tackles the real question of what a college education is worth, asking questions of college presidents and financial aid gatekeepers that parents are afraid to ask. With a 100,000-copy first printing.

Library Journal