Increases In College Tuition

The stress of picking a college is something that I remember very clearly. I took many things into consideration — where is the school located? Does it have my major? Is it big or small? How much does it cost?

The last factor seems to be what everyone is talking about these days: the price of college. Tuition has risen dramatically within the past few decades. Since 1978, college tuition and fees has increased 1,120%.

This makes you wonder how anyone could afford college. And the answer is, most people can’t. More and more students are taking out loans and inevitably putting themselves into more debt.

Desire For Quality Jobs

It is unfortunate that so many people can relate to the burden of debt overpowering their decision to go to college, because quality college education is needed in today’s day and age in order to get that well-paying job that we all want to have.

Unlike some of our parents who say that they did not need college to get a job, it is absolutely critical for today’s youth to further their education. Author, speaker, and advocate for education Jeffrey Selingo argues that attending college and obtaining a bachelor’s degree is the only entry ticket for any good job.

Our education system and the economy together is making this hard to achieve.

In 2014:

But what does this mean for those of us who cannot afford to attend college?

The U.S. Department of Labor documented that only 69.2% of high school graduates in 2015 moved on to college. What about the other 30.8% of students?

Because of absurd tuition, this is not a surprise. At the University of Delaware:

  • In-state tuition in 2004 was $8,353.
  • In 2015, this price almost tripled and became $11,676.
  • In addition, out-of-state tuition at the University of Delaware in 2005 was $16,640, and ten years later in 2015 it was $31,420.
  • For out-of-staters in 2015, tuition increased $728 from the previous year. What is going to happen if these increases keep occurring every year?

Why Are These Increases Happening?

Yes — everyone knows that college tuition is increasing. Students and families that choose to pursue college educations are still paying for tuition, but do they really know where their money is going, and why they have to pay more and more each year?

According to Forbes, between 1993 and 2007,

What do all of these lead to? Increases in college tuition.

It’s no wonder so many students can’t go to college, and that those who do have an average of $33,000 in student loan debt.

Post-College Hardships

Lots of students who have the opportunity to go to college unfortunately graduate with student loan debt, which is now an intergenerational problem with ripple effects throughout the economy. Graduates are suffering with having to not only find jobs in our weak economy, but also finding the money to pay back their debt.

Maybe this is why in a national survey of over 30,000 people, only 38% of college graduates in the past decade strongly agree that their education was worth the cost.

Clearly, our education system must be fixed. This can be done by realigning, rearranging, and shifting the concentration of resources on college campuses.

Realigning Resources To Lower Tuition

Imagine having one university with several different campuses.

Now picture all of these campuses each having their own anthropology departments, with a full group of staff, administrators, and professors.

Does this seem logical? To me, it doesn’t.

Instead:

  • Combine the resources of all the anthropology departments into one, and make one campus have a phenomenal program.
  • Leave the other campuses with the minimum amount of professors and material possible — enough to offer an undergraduate course.

By doing this:

  • Resources will be combined into one to make a very strong department, attracting students interested in the field and therefore increasing enrollment rates.
  • Excess staff will be removed from the university, helping to save money and therefore lowering tuition.

What Does College Education Mean For Society?

Adam Davidson is founder and writer for NPR’s “Planet Money”, a non-profit media organization that distributes news and cultural programming. Davidson states that educated populations tend to be healthier, more stable, and more engaged.

Society as a whole is positively impacted when its members attend college. Davidson also feels that every American benefits when every other American has access to as much schooling as he or she wants.

And this really does make sense. Would you rather have members of your community obtain minimal education, or would you rather them flourish with the highest education that they possibly can?

The answer is simple and clear. Why wouldn’t you want those around you to be intellectual, knowledgable, and well-educated? Not only do individuals prosper with higher educations, but their contributions impact the society too, making it a better environment as well.

What Does This Mean?

In the end, college education is vital for students and society both. Attending a college or university is a struggle for many people to achieve, largely because of the price-tag attached. It is unfortunate to see so many bright minds go to waste and not receive the education desired because of financial reasons. It has been proven that young adults with college experience are more likely to find jobs that are higher quality.

Instead of leaving thousands of students in debt for many years after graduation, tuition should be decreased. Let’s realign and conserve the resources that colleges have, and eliminate all the unnecessary expenses. This will help cut costs and drive tuition down. Then, more people could attend college and create a more promising future for themselves and society as a whole.

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