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Almost 100,000 students applied to UCLA in 2013 but the biggest factor in their final decisions will probably be financial ones. The UC system’s controversial and rapid adjustments in pricing for attendance and the┬ácomplex structure of the fees make it hard to get on square answer to the easy question: how much does it cost? You shouldn’t need a slide rule to figure out how much you’ll pay to go to college.

When I was in college, I realized how confusing this can be, so I started UCLA Tuition as a place to post up the actual number, for the record. It started as a simple, single-serving, flat HTML page that I hand-coded to make sure the number was easy to find. But now, UCLA Tuition is much more. UCLA is the most-applied to university in the world and the largest public school in California. And it’s a public university in a UC system that’s becoming more and more “private” as the tuition bubble explodes. These numbers tell a big story about education in America.

I want to hear opinions — I want to start a conversation around these numbers — because they reflect a bigger issue than an impact on one family’s budget… it’s an economic issue that’s forming the future of our country.