Loren Pope: Lessons from a Higher Ed Icon

Loren Pope died last week.

If you have ever lingered in the collegiate book section at Barnes & Noble or any other book store, you will probably recognize his name.

Pope, a former independent college counselor and New York Times education editor, became famous thanks to his classic book entitled, Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Colleges That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges.

I remember the day that I heard about Pope’s book. During a meeting with a financial planner, I had been stressing about college prospects for my daughter, who was then a 10th grader. The adviser recommended the book. When we left the planner’s office, my husband turned to me and said, “I guess you’re going to buy the book this afternoon.” I did.

Pope’s book opened up an entirely new world for me because I had previously assumed that universities were superior to all other schools. Pope made an eloquent — and to me — persuasive argument that liberal arts colleges are a wonderful choice for many students. In the slim book, Pope also made enemies by belittling Ivy League Schools. You can get a flavor of his strong opinions in this profile in The New York Times.

My daughter Caitlin is now a sophomore at Juniata College in Pennsylvania — one of Pope’s 40 schools — and she’s had marvelous academic, social and cultural experiences.

Liberal arts colleges aren’t cheap, which is why I set out to discover how we could afford a private school on a state school budget. Those efforts led me to write my own book, The College Solution: A Guide for Everyone Looking for the Right School at the Right Price.

I think my book is a valuable supplement to Pope’s book because it includes concrete advice on how you can slash the cost of private schools with high sticker prices. As I learned through my research as a financial journalist, the prices are meaningless if you know where to look.

You can learn more about my new book by visiting my web site.

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