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The Quintessential College Experience, Without The Big Bills

Alejandra Gonzalez browses in the bookstore at the University of Maryland in College Park, Md.

Going to college today is a very different experience than it once was. The cost has soared, and the great recession cut into many of the assets that were supposed to pay for it. This week All Things Considered is talking with young people — and in some cases their parents — about the value of school and about their choice of what kind of college to attend.

Four years ago, members of the high school class of 2012 were deciding where and how to go to college. Several factors weighed heavily: cost, the student experience, prestige and the prospect of a job after graduation.

Nearly 40 percent of their classmates nationwide who pursued a higher education chose a four-year state college or university, like the University of Maryland.

At the College Park campus — just outside Washington, D.C. there are more than 27,000 undergraduates. We chatted with three students finishing up their degrees.

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