The Price of College is Not What You Actually Pay


Published:

Photo courtesy of shutterstock.com

If you’ve ever experienced a sudden, unexplained rise in your cable bill, you’ve probably experienced something like this: After calling the cable company and enduring 20 straight minutes of deafeningly loud advertisements for the latest sequel to "Horrible Bosses," you finally get an operator on the phone. You express your displeasure and threaten to switch to another company. Without hesitation, the representative immediately pitches you a new “limited time offer” that includes more channels for less money than you were originally paying. This offer wasn’t listed on the website or advertised anywhere, but must simply be reserved for irate customers with one foot out the door.

The lesson here is that cable companies are not exactly beacons of transparency — unfortunately, and this may surprise you — neither are colleges. Most college-bound students and their families eye the list price of a prospective school when deciding if it is a financially viable option. Yet, in the modern higher education marketplace, the list price and the net price, that is, what the average student actually pays, frequently have little to do with one another. Grasping the difference between the stated and actual tuition costs can revolutionize the way you shop for colleges and can greatly expand your economically sound post-secondary options.

Don’t believe the sticker price

If you shop for colleges the way you shop for other high-expense items  automobiles for example  you would be doing yourself a disservice and greatly limiting your options. While car dealers, like cable companies, are not exactly known for their straightforward pricing methods, we still enter a dealership with a general idea of what we can afford. If our budget allows us to target pre-owned Toyotas with a list price of  $14,000 and nothing a penny higher, then we can be pretty darn sure that even if we are the best negotiator in the entire world, the $40,000 Lexus in the same showroom is not going to be realistic option for us. Evaluating college costs, however, could not be a different ballgame.

Let’s look at the example of Beantown Barbara, a Massachusetts resident and accomplished high school student who would love to attend a small, private liberal arts school but is being told by her middle class parents that this is off the table unless she wants to take out massive loans. Barbara had been interested in high-caliber schools like Reed College in Portland, Oregon, Vassar in New York, or even Wellesley College, the prestigious women’s college right in her own backyard. Her SATs and grades are likely good enough to gain acceptance at all three, but she and her family are turned off by the Lexus-level pricing, as each school costs in excess of $40,000 per year in tuition alone. Wanting to avoid accumulating unnecessary undergraduate debt, Barbara decides that UMASS, at an in-state price of $14,-000, is probably her best bet.

Unbeknownst to Barbara and her family is that Reed, Vassar, and Wellesley  through generous merit and need-based aid opportunities  actually have average net-prices only slightly higher than UMASS. Amazingly, all three private schools have an average net price (again, what students actually pay) of under $20,000, under half of their respective sticker prices. That doesn’t mean that Beantown Barbara would have been offered exactly that price. It could have been higher,but it also could have been lower. Either way, it would have been worth applying and finding out.

Net price by income

Moving a few hours westward for a moment for our next example. As high school student in Ohio, Buckeye Bob finished in the top 10 percent of his class and kicked-butt on his last attempt at the ACT. His dream is to attend a selective liberal arts school somewhat close to home, preferably in Ohio. Bob shares with his parents that  his top choices are Oberlin, Kenyon, and College of Wooster. Bob’s parents beam with pride until they see the sticker price of these schools — all over $40,000 for tuition.

Bob’s parents are solidly middle class, earning $67,000 a year. The assume they are caught in financial aid no-man’s land, earning too much income to qualify for government grants but not enough to cover the steep tuition costs at a private school. Discouraged, Bob looks at Ohio’s state school options. He knows that he’ll be fine attending a school like Ohio State, Cleveland State, or The University of Akron, but he wishes there was some way he could have a shot at his true best-fit schools.

Fortunately for Bob, his guidance counselor understands the concept of net-price at private schools like Oberlin, Kenyon and The College of Wooster. These institutions tend to be generous with aid and take income strongly into consideration. While Oberlin has a sticker price of over $46,000 a year, the net price declines as you go down the income ladder. The average family whose income exceeds $110,000 pays a bit less than that at $40,000. Families making between $75,000-$110,000 get a sizable discount, with the average falling just below $26,000. Those with an income level in the $48,000-$75,000 range, like Buckeye Bob’s family, pay under $18,000 in tuition. At The College of Wooster, families in that income range pay a little over $16,000. Kenyon College’s average net price for a student like Bob comes in even lower at roughly $11,000.

Most of the state schools in Ohio cost somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 grand per year. Most likely, a university like Ohio State will still cost Bob less than his dream schools, but the revelation about net price may still have moved a school like Oberlin from a complete fantasy to a potential reality.

Don’t forget to select a quality financial safety school

Discovering the concept of net-price should lead you to radically alter the way you go about selecting target colleges — you should feel freed up to aim high and dream big. However, it is crucial to also come up with back-up plan that is a sure thing from a financial end. Most college-bound students are aware of the importance of having a “safety school,” an institution where obtaining admission is pretty darn close to a statistical guarantee. However, for anyone without unlimited funds, selecting a “financial safety school” may be of equal importance.

No one likes to consider doomsday scenarios, but if you thoughtfully selected a quality financial safety school, you can now breathe a little easier as you await financial and merit aid notifications from you top-choice schools. In our examples above, UMASS and Ohio State would have made perfectly good financial safety schools (assuming that they were also “safeties” from an academic standpoint) because they were affordable (even at 100 percent of the list price) and not schools that our sample students found undesirable. In picking a financial safety school, don’t just pick a random school that happens to be relatively inexpensive. Target a school that you would genuinely like to attend, considering for location, availability of majors of interest, extracurricular activities, etc.

Understanding that the list price and the net price are two very different concepts will help to broaden your college search and may just put your dream schools within financial reach. Don’t believe us? Call your cable company today and start enjoying the full gamut of premium channels for a fraction of the price. 

College Transitions recently published net price data for every selective institution in the United States. Please click here to view the list.

College Transitions is a team of college planning experts committed to guiding families through the college admissions process. As counselors and published higher education researchers, we aim to bring perspective (and some sanity) to college planning, and we strive to provide students with the support they need to enroll and succeed at a college that is right for them. Please visit our website—www.collegetransitions.com—to learn more.

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College Transitions

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About This Blog

College Transitions is a team of college planning experts committed to guiding families through the college admissions process. As counselors and published higher education researchers, we aim to bring perspective (and some sanity) to college planning, and we strive to provide students with the support they need to enroll and succeed at a college that is right for them. Learn more at collegetransitions.com

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Calendar

December 2018

Run Club meets every Sunday at 8 a.m. in Midtown Raleigh or Wake Forest. Stroller friendly; children invited. 

Cost: $10/run or $100/annual pass

Where:
Optimist Park Community Center/Greenways
5900 Whittier Drive
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Sponsor: FIT4MOM
Telephone: 919-348-0472
Contact Name: Missy Currin
Website »

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Come for a tour and try out a Music or Creative Movement class. Any child who will be preschool age (ages 2-transitional kindergarten) for the 2019-20 school year is invited to participate in...

Cost: Free

Where:
Saint Raphael Preschool
5801 Falls of the Neuse Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Sponsor: Saint Raphael Preschool
Telephone: 919-865-5725
Contact Name: Nora Duran
Website »

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Take part in a class that teaches individualized ways to foster motor development for your child. Learn about tummy time alternatives, best positions for your baby, how to help your child learn to...

Cost: $18

Where:
Open Arts
1222 Copeland Oaks Dr.
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Babies On The MOVE
Contact Name: Rebecca Quinones
Website »

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Join Mindful Families of Durham, a Buddhist-inspired spiritual community that supports area parents, caregivers, and their children in the practice of mindfulness and the understanding of the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Erwin Road
Durham, NC  27705
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Sponsor: Mindful Families of Durham
Contact Name: Adam, Laura, Josh, Sumi
Website »

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The beloved TV classic soars off the screen and onto the stage this holiday season. See favorite characters Santa and Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf, Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster,...

Cost: $15-$50

Where:
Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts
Telephone: 919-886-4591
Contact Name: Box Office
Website »

More information

Take part in a class that teaches individualized ways to foster motor development for your child. Learn about carry positions, best positions for your baby, how to help your child learn to crawl,...

Cost: $18

Where:
Open Arts
1222 Copeland Oaks Dr
Morrisville, NC  27560
View map »


Sponsor: Babies On The MOVE
Contact Name: Rebecca Quinones
Website »

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Celebrate the holiday season with goats, farm animals, a new hay ride and tractor ride, holiday treats and a Christmas Market. Santa will be at the farm on all weekends giving you the perfect...

Cost: $13.50/person

Where:
Spring Haven Farm
5306 Homer Ruffin Rd.
Chapel Hill , NC  27516
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Sponsor: Spring Haven Farm
Telephone: 919.407.1806
Contact Name: Andrew Crihfield
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This musical comedy is a holiday sugarplum for the whole family with just the right mixture of comedy and romance to add the sparkle of magic to your holiday season. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $26-$30/person

Where:
Raleigh Little Theatre
301 Pogue St.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

More information

Barriskill Dance Theatre School present its annual production of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Ballet. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Reynolds Theater, Duke University
125 Science Dr.
Durham, NC  27708
View map »


Website »

More information

Observe living and non-living natural objects under the microscope and with a magnifying glass. All ages with adult. Meet at the upper pavilion. Register online.

Cost: $1/person

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd.
Apex, NC  27539
View map »


Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

Girls ages 5-12 take their favorite doll and have a creative time together preparing for the holidays. Register by emailing polkhouse2@bellsouth.net. 

Cost: $22/attendee. $20/sister

Where:
Historic Polk House
537 N. Blount St.
Raleigh, NC  27604
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Telephone: 919-676-6368
Website »

More information

Take the family to enjoy Ira David Wood III's musical comedy adaptation of the Charles Dickens' classic. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $36 and up

Where:
Durham Performing Arts Center
123 Vivian St.
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Website »

More information

Take the family to enjoy Ira David Wood III's musical comedy adaptation of the Charles Dickens' classic. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $36 and up

Where:
Durham Performing Arts Center
123 Vivian St.
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Website »

More information

Nutcracker lovers of all ages will enjoy this culinary journey through the lands of the Nutcracker.  Highlights include: Authentic Turkish coffee, Spanish hot chocolate, Russian tea, and...

Cost: $49.95/person

Where:
Sommelier's Roast
3700 Glenwood Ave.
Suite 150
Raleigh, NC  27612
View map »


Sponsor: Sommelier's Roast
Telephone: 191-952-61790
Contact Name: Ashley Odvody
Website »

More information

The beloved TV classic soars off the screen and onto the stage this holiday season. See favorite characters Santa and Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf, Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster,...

Cost: $15-$50

Where:
Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts
Telephone: 919-886-4591
Contact Name: Box Office
Website »

More information

Take a one-hour guided tour of Historic Oak View County Park and see holiday decorations interpreting five different time periods in Oak View’s history (Antebellum Era, Civil War Era,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Oak View County Park
4028 Carya Dr.
Raleigh, NC  27610
View map »


Sponsor: Historic Oak View County Park
Telephone: 919-250-1013
Contact Name: Ken Peters
Website »

More information

Cary Ballet students presents the holiday story of Clara, her heroic nutcracker, the evil Mouse Queen and all of Clara’s colorful friends. 

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Cary Arts Center
101 Dry Ave.
Cary, NC  27511
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Sponsor: Cary Ballet Company
Telephone: 919-200-3939
Contact Name: Michelle Gisondi
Website »

More information

Enjoy a one-act performance of Clara’s journey to the Kingdom of the Sweets to life, with dazzling costumes, animated narration, and a talented ensemble of young dancers.

Cost: $12-$15

Where:
Heritage High School
1150 Forestville Rd.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
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Website »

More information

Experience The Raleigh Ringers live in concert as they dazzle concert audiences with unique interpretations of sacred, secular, and popular music, including famous rock ‘n’ roll tunes...

Cost: $20/adult, $11/student

Where:
Meymandi Concert Hall, Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy a session of family yoga. Ages 3 and older. Register online. 

Cost: $18 for two family members; $10 additional family member

Where:
Little Guru Kids Yoga and Creative Arts
215 Glenwood Avenue
Suite A
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Sponsor: Little Guru Kids Yoga
Telephone: 919-720-4921
Contact Name: Jen Fisher
Website »

More information

Young adults with developmental disabilities enjoy a book club featuring "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets."  The group meets most Sundays at 4:45 p.m.

Cost: Free

Where:
Quail Ridge Books
4209-100 Lassiter Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Website »

More information

This musical comedy is a holiday sugarplum for the whole family with just the right mixture of comedy and romance to add the sparkle of magic to your holiday season. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $26-$30/person

Where:
Raleigh Little Theatre
301 Pogue St.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

More information

Cary Ballet students presents the holiday story of Clara, her heroic nutcracker, the evil Mouse Queen and all of Clara’s colorful friends. 

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Cary Arts Center
101 Dry Ave.
Cary, NC  27511
View map »


Sponsor: Cary Ballet Company
Telephone: 919-200-3939
Contact Name: Michelle Gisondi
Website »

More information

The Justice Theater Project presents the rebirth of its annual holiday family favorite, "Black Nativity by Langston Hughes," Dec. 14-18 at two locations: Umstead Park United Church...

Cost: $27 Adults, $23 Seniors/Students/Military, $21 groups of 10+.*Prices do NOT inc

Where:
NCSU Stewart Theater
2610 Cates Ave.
Raleigh, NC   27607
View map »


Sponsor: The Justice Theater Project
Telephone: 336-655-2119
Contact Name: Melissa Zeph
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Come for a tour and try out a Music or Creative Movement class. Any child who will be preschool age (ages 2-transitional kindergarten) for the 2019-20 school year is invited to participate in...

Cost: Free

Where:
Saint Raphael Preschool
5801 Falls of the Neuse Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Sponsor: Saint Raphael Preschool
Telephone: 919-865-5725
Contact Name: Nora Duran
Website »

More information

Read "Over and Under the Snow" by Kate Messner, who takes readers on a cross country ski trip through the winter woods to discover the secret world of animals living under the snow. All...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Make snowman crafts. Materials provided. All ages with adult. Meet at the Cardinal Shelter. Registration not required.

Cost: Free

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd.
Apex, NC  27539
View map »


Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

Take a one-hour guided tour of Historic Oak View County Park and see holiday decorations interpreting five different time periods in Oak View’s history (Antebellum Era, Civil War Era,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Oak View County Park
4028 Carya Dr.
Raleigh, NC  27610
View map »


Sponsor: Historic Oak View County Park
Telephone: 919-250-1013
Contact Name: Ken Peters
Website »

More information

Triangle Youth Philharmonic (TYP) joins talented young dancers from International Ballet Company in selections from the Nutcracker. Composer Terry Mizesko will bring special insight...

Cost: See website

Where:
Meymandi Concert Hall
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

The Justice Theater Project presents the rebirth of its annual holiday family favorite, "Black Nativity by Langston Hughes," Dec. 14-18 at two locations: Umstead Park United Church...

Cost: $27 Adults, $23 Seniors/Students/Military, $21 groups of 10+.*Prices do NOT inc

Where:
NCSU Stewart Theater
2610 Cates Ave.
Raleigh, NC   27607
View map »


Sponsor: The Justice Theater Project
Telephone: 336-655-2119
Contact Name: Melissa Zeph
Website »

More information

Hear The Beach Boys perform their timeless classics, plus seasonal favorites. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $54 and up

Where:
Durham Performing Arts Center
123 Vivian St.
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Come for a tour and try out a Music or Creative Movement class. Any child who will be preschool age (ages 2-transitional kindergarten) for the 2019-20 school year is invited to participate in...

Cost: Free

Where:
Saint Raphael Preschool
5801 Falls of the Neuse Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Sponsor: Saint Raphael Preschool
Telephone: 919-865-5725
Contact Name: Nora Duran
Website »

More information

Take a one-hour guided tour of Historic Oak View County Park and see holiday decorations interpreting five different time periods in Oak View’s history (Antebellum Era, Civil War Era,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Oak View County Park
4028 Carya Dr.
Raleigh, NC  27610
View map »


Sponsor: Historic Oak View County Park
Telephone: 919-250-1013
Contact Name: Ken Peters
Website »

More information

The Justice Theater Project presents the rebirth of its annual holiday family favorite, "Black Nativity by Langston Hughes," Dec. 14-18 at two locations: Umstead Park United Church...

Cost: $27 Adults, $23 Seniors/Students/Military, $21 groups of 10+.*Prices do NOT inc

Where:
NCSU Stewart Theater
2610 Cates Ave.
Raleigh, NC   27607
View map »


Sponsor: The Justice Theater Project
Telephone: 336-655-2119
Contact Name: Melissa Zeph
Website »

More information

Grammy Award-winner Chip Davis delivers a holiday show that features Mannheim Steamroller Christmas classics. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $45 and up

Where:
Durham Performing Arts Center
123 Vivian St.
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Website »

More information

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Show Less...

See Happy Dan perform magic, comedy and more.

Cost: $5/person

Where:
Renaissance Centre
405 Brooks St.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
View map »


Website »

More information

Come for a tour and try out a Music or Creative Movement class. Any child who will be preschool age (ages 2-transitional kindergarten) for the 2019-20 school year is invited to participate in...

Cost: Free

Where:
Saint Raphael Preschool
5801 Falls of the Neuse Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Sponsor: Saint Raphael Preschool
Telephone: 919-865-5725
Contact Name: Nora Duran
Website »

More information

Expand your knowledge of our local flora and fauna by exploring a different area of the park each month. Join park staff as they "nerd out" over amphibians, birds, insects,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Pkwy.
Morrisville, NC  27560
View map »


Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 191-946-03355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
Website »

More information

Take a one-hour guided tour of Historic Oak View County Park and see holiday decorations interpreting five different time periods in Oak View’s history (Antebellum Era, Civil War Era,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Oak View County Park
4028 Carya Dr.
Raleigh, NC  27610
View map »


Sponsor: Historic Oak View County Park
Telephone: 919-250-1013
Contact Name: Ken Peters
Website »

More information

Discover the joy of cooking with storybook characters. Ages 3-5 with parent. Register online. Choose course #116737.

Cost: $23/resident, $30/nonresident

Where:
Herbert C. Young Community Center
101 Wilkinson Ave.
Cary, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Grammy Award-winner Chip Davis delivers a holiday show that features Mannheim Steamroller Christmas classics. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $45 and up

Where:
Durham Performing Arts Center
123 Vivian St.
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

In the Northern Hemisphere, the Winter Solstice marks the longest night and shortest day of the year. Celebrate this special day by checking out a table display and explore how cultures all over...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-856-6675

More information

Explore a part of art. Ages 2-5 with caregiver. Purchase tickets online for workshops at 9:15, 10:15 or 11:15 a.m.

Cost: $6/member, $8/nonmember

Where:
NC Museum of Art
2110 Blue Ridge Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607-6494
View map »


Telephone: 919-715-5923
Website »

More information

Come for a tour and try out a Music or Creative Movement class. Any child who will be preschool age (ages 2-transitional kindergarten) for the 2019-20 school year is invited to participate in...

Cost: Free

Where:
Saint Raphael Preschool
5801 Falls of the Neuse Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Sponsor: Saint Raphael Preschool
Telephone: 919-865-5725
Contact Name: Nora Duran
Website »

More information

Learn what the Ingalls family did to survive one especially long winter and find out how the family celebrated Christmas. Taste an old-fashioned peppermint candy stick and take home a holiday...

Cost: $6/child

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Take a one-hour guided tour of Historic Oak View County Park and see holiday decorations interpreting five different time periods in Oak View’s history (Antebellum Era, Civil War Era,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Oak View County Park
4028 Carya Dr.
Raleigh, NC  27610
View map »


Sponsor: Historic Oak View County Park
Telephone: 919-250-1013
Contact Name: Ken Peters
Website »

More information

Take the family to enjoy fun activities and spread some holiday cheer.

Cost: Free

Where:
Holton Career and Resource Center
401 N. Driver St.
Durham, NC  27703
View map »


Website »

More information

Ages 11 and older with special needs sing favorite holiday and Christmas tunes. Take a dish to share. Register online. Choose course #116593.

Cost: $2/resident, $3/nonresident

Where:
Cary Senior Center
120 Maury O'Dell Place
Cary, NC  27513
View map »


Website »

More information

See a contemporary re-imagination of Tchaikovky's timeless music. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $35-$55

Where:
Durham Performing Arts Center
123 Vivian St.
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

In the Northern Hemisphere, the Winter Solstice marks the longest night and shortest day of the year. Celebrate this special day by checking out a table display and explore how cultures all over...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-856-6675

More information

Come for a tour and try out a Music or Creative Movement class. Any child who will be preschool age (ages 2-transitional kindergarten) for the 2019-20 school year is invited to participate in...

Cost: Free

Where:
Saint Raphael Preschool
5801 Falls of the Neuse Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Sponsor: Saint Raphael Preschool
Telephone: 919-865-5725
Contact Name: Nora Duran
Website »

More information

Bring your kids to the park for an afternoon of crafting and nature while you take advantage of a few more hours of holiday shopping.  The crafts your child creates will make great keepsakes or...

Cost: $12 per child

Where:
Harris Lake County Park
2112 County Park Dr.
New Hill, NC  27562
View map »


Sponsor: Harris Lake County Park
Telephone: 919-387-4342
Contact Name: Joanne St. Clair
Website »

More information

Take a one-hour guided tour of Historic Oak View County Park and see holiday decorations interpreting five different time periods in Oak View’s history (Antebellum Era, Civil War Era,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Oak View County Park
4028 Carya Dr.
Raleigh, NC  27610
View map »


Sponsor: Historic Oak View County Park
Telephone: 919-250-1013
Contact Name: Ken Peters
Website »

More information

Learn your way around winter's constellations, enjoy hot cocoa, and learn about the mysterious night sky. All ages with adult. Meet at the upper pavilion. Register online. 

Cost: $1/person

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd.
Apex, NC  27539
View map »


Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

Celebrate the first day of winter by taking a moonlit stroll down the Trail to the Beaver Creek Bridge and back, listening and looking for nocturnal animals. We will enjoy some fun night time...

Cost: $1 per person

Where:
American Tobacco Trail - New Hill parking area
1309 New Hill-Olive Chapel Rd.
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Sponsor: Harris Lake County Park and the American Tobacco Trail
Telephone: 919-387-2117
Contact Name: Joanne St. Clair
Website »

More information

Take part in the walk to celebrate the winter solstice. Take a handmade lantern (white lanterns/lights only, handmade is requested, no fire allowed). Participants will gather at the Farmer’s...

Cost: Free

Where:
Downtown Hillsborough
, NC  27278


Website »

More information

On Friday, December 21, Durham Arts Council is the place to be for an art-filled, family-friendly affair brimming with holiday cheer!  Join us starting at 6pm for this month’s Third...

Cost: Free and open to the public

Where:
Durham Arts Council
120 Morris Street
Durham, NC  27701
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Sponsor: Durham Arts Council
Telephone: 919-560-2719
Contact Name: Susan Tierney
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The beloved TV classic soars off the screen and onto the stage this holiday season. See favorite characters Santa and Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf, Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster,...

Cost: $15-$50

Where:
Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Sponsor: Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts
Telephone: 919-886-4591
Contact Name: Box Office
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This class is a chance for adventurous women to get together for a fun-filled workshop where we explore the basics of aerial silks. No need for a background in aerial yoga, this is a workshop...

Cost: $25

Where:
Cary Hot Yoga
952 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC  27511
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Sponsor: Cary Hot Yoga
Telephone: 188-858-79530
Contact Name: hoa bui
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The Raleigh Boychoir presents its annual holiday concert. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Edenton Street United Methodist Church
228 W. Edenton St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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In the Northern Hemisphere, the Winter Solstice marks the longest night and shortest day of the year. Celebrate this special day by checking out a table display and explore how cultures all over...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-856-6675

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Come for a tour and try out a Music or Creative Movement class. Any child who will be preschool age (ages 2-transitional kindergarten) for the 2019-20 school year is invited to participate in...

Cost: Free

Where:
Saint Raphael Preschool
5801 Falls of the Neuse Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27609
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Sponsor: Saint Raphael Preschool
Telephone: 919-865-5725
Contact Name: Nora Duran
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Take a one-hour guided tour of Historic Oak View County Park and see holiday decorations interpreting five different time periods in Oak View’s history (Antebellum Era, Civil War Era,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Oak View County Park
4028 Carya Dr.
Raleigh, NC  27610
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Sponsor: Historic Oak View County Park
Telephone: 919-250-1013
Contact Name: Ken Peters
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Take a walk with a naturalist to explore the seasonal changes that can be observed in nature. Discover how various kinds of wildlife prepare for the cold and look for animal tracks and other...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

The beloved TV classic soars off the screen and onto the stage this holiday season. See favorite characters Santa and Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf, Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster,...

Cost: $15-$50

Where:
Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts
Telephone: 919-886-4591
Contact Name: Box Office
Website »

More information

Celebrate the holiday season with goats, farm animals, a new hay ride and tractor ride, holiday treats and a Christmas Market. Santa will be at the farm on all weekends giving you the perfect...

Cost: $13.50/person

Where:
Spring Haven Farm
5306 Homer Ruffin Rd.
Chapel Hill , NC  27516
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Sponsor: Spring Haven Farm
Telephone: 919.407.1806
Contact Name: Andrew Crihfield
Website »

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Explore the historic heart of downtown Raleigh on a walking tour of Fayetteville Street. Tours highlight the people, places, architecture and political movements that have shaped...

Cost: Adults (18+) $10; Youth (7-17) $4; Children (6 & under) Free.

Where:
City of Raleigh Museum
220 Fayetteville St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Website »

More information

The beloved TV classic soars off the screen and onto the stage this holiday season. See favorite characters Santa and Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf, Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster,...

Cost: $15-$50

Where:
Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts
Telephone: 919-886-4591
Contact Name: Box Office
Website »

More information

Take a one-hour guided tour of Historic Oak View County Park and see holiday decorations interpreting five different time periods in Oak View’s history (Antebellum Era, Civil War Era,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Oak View County Park
4028 Carya Dr.
Raleigh, NC  27610
View map »


Sponsor: Historic Oak View County Park
Telephone: 919-250-1013
Contact Name: Ken Peters
Website »

More information

The beloved TV classic soars off the screen and onto the stage this holiday season. See favorite characters Santa and Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf, Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster,...

Cost: $15-$50

Where:
Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts
Telephone: 919-886-4591
Contact Name: Box Office
Website »

More information

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Annual Guides

Education Guide

The 2018-19 Education Guide offers 678 education resources in the Triangle, including area preschools, private schools, public school systems, charter schools, boarding schools, academic resources and an Exceptional Child special section.

The Triangle Go-To Guide

Our Triangle Go-To Guide connects you to family fun resources across the Triangle. Plus, find out who our 2018 Readers' Favorites are.