Pictured top row are Rich Welsh, Richard Hollis, Bob Frater and Christopher Brown of Houston Asset Management. Bottom row are Linda Mowrey (Dylan’s mother), Dylan Mowrey and Robert Hampton of Houston Asset Management.
Houston Asset Management, Inc. debut of the Cost of Learning Index was a success. Our index was featured in the Houston Chronicle
and on News 92FM and KUHF radio. Here's our July 17th press release by JM Group:
Popular College Necessities Rose 8.2% in Price
It may not be surprising that the price of college tuition in a four-year public university has increased 3.8 percent since the 2011-2012 school year. What may be a revelation are the price increases of other school incidentals that are part of the rite of passage into college.
The Cost of Learning tracks popular college-student items like Rainbow flip flops everyone wears and a dorm-room refrigerator that finds a place next to every desk.
Compiled by Houston Asset Management, a Houston-based investment advisory firm, the Cost of Learning Index tracks 10 popular items purchased by college-bound students. It is a new index from the firm known for its popular “Cost of Loving Index” that has tracked the prices of popular Valentine’s Day gifts for 23 years.
The Cost of Learning Index shows the largest price increase is the cost of a fire and waterproof file cabinet that jumped 35.16 percent for the 2012-2013 school year. The cost of a new backpack hikes 23.77 percent and a dorm-room refrigerator costs a cold 11.08 percent more.
“The Cost of Learning Index was established as a fun way to remind our clients that saving for college-bound children involves financial planning for the incidentals, as well as the tuition,” said John Payne CFP®, President of Houston Asset Management. “The index is an intriguing way to remind them of the costs they may incur as their children reach college age.”
The only item on the list that decreased in price is a used car. The suggested retail price of a four-cylinder 2008 Camry is $13,741 and that is 8.7 percent lower than 2007 models.
Four items on list did not change in price from the last school year, which may offer some relief. They include a college sweatshirt, two-sets of adjustable bed risers, an over-the-door towel rack and Rainbow brand of flip flops.
The 10 items on the list were selected for tracking based on the experience of the firm’s principals.
“My daughter just graduated from college and several members of our firm have college-age children, so we know some of the must-haves for college life,” said Payne. “We track items that are likely to be needed for years in the future, and we deliberately excluded technology products because they advance too quickly for our tracking model.”
Payne said there is one more necessity on the list: a large pepperoni pizza that is a staple of college life for many. Expect to pay 18 percent more this school year – but there are always promotional coupons.
Summary of the Cost of Learning Index by Houston Asset Management
- Average tuition in four-year college increases 3.8%
- The price of a Revel backpack hiked 23.77% and costs about $99
- Prices stayed the same for a college sweatshirt ($36.95), bed risers to raise the bed 7 inches ($39.98), and over-the-door towel rack ($14.99) and Rainbow brand flip flops ($48.95 for women)
- A used Camry decrease in price by 8.7%
- A fire and waterproof filing cabinet jumped 35.16%
- A small dorm-room refrigerator increased 11.08% and costs $139.95 at Target
- Pizza Hut's large pepperoni pizza may be the right companion for study night, but it costs 18.09% more than last year without coupons.