By Rolf Wegenke, Ph.D.

“You don’t know what you don’t know.” We use this aphorism a lot around the WAICU office. I could not find an attribution, but, regardless of the source, the phrase reminds us to avoid glib assumptions and arrogance. When making decisions, we should keep in mind that our decisions will be better if we become educated, seeking the broadest and best information. We also are reminded to be humble and not assume that we “know it all.” Sometimes I find myself rephrasing this aphorism to “I didn’t know what I thought I knew.”

Here are some examples of assertions that do not pan out if you look at the facts:

Assertion: Private colleges are not affordable for regular people.

Fact: The average net undergraduate tuition (price minus student aid) at Wisconsin’s private, nonprofit colleges and universities is currently $5,239. Net tuition at WAICU members has been under $5,500 for the last seven years. More than 96 percent of all full-time undergraduate students receive financial aid, and over 75 percent of that aid is in grants, not loans. WAICU-member colleges and universities enroll and graduate a larger percentage of minority, low-income, and first-generation students than does the University of Wisconsin System.

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