Increasing Costs of Higher Education

Topics: Higher education, High school, University Pages: 5 (1724 words) Published: February 26, 2011
In the society of the United States, students are expected to follow the typical path of day care, grade school, middle school, high school and hopefully college. Growing up in America today, the importance of education is stressed starting at the earliest stages of development. In a world with a competitive job market and with citizens who want to make the most money that they can, a college education is the key to success. For some students, financing college is not a problem. Money should not be a factor in the student’s decision-making process when choosing what school to attend, but unfortunately many people are unable to attend the university of their choice due to high tuition costs. Working through college is not always the best answer because this may have a negative effect on academic performance with the added stress. It is true that financial aid and loans are available, but it is sometimes much harder to take advantage of these than people realize. Although universities offer many forms of aid in paying for college, the continually increasing prices still make it impossible for many people to afford higher education, and lowering prices would be effective in increasing the amount of people able to obtain a college degree.

The average income for middle class families is an estimated $49,500. This is barely more than just the tuition of many colleges, not including services such as room and board, food, books, etc... This situation makes it nearly impossible for a family to afford college. The price of tuition continues to rise faster than most families’ incomes. In the future, this situation is only going to become more severe, allowing even fewer people to get a college education. Each year fewer students are able to attend college because of their inability to pay. This is unfair, and a situation that our country needs to change.

College tuition is increasing faster than people’s incomes, and this places limits on many people’s abilities to attend and pay for college. There is substantial evidence that college tuition is continuing to rise across the country. An article in the New York Times showed, “Total expenses - including tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, transportation and other expenses - now average $15,566 for an undergraduate student attending a public university in his/her own state,” which has significantly increased from recent years (Collegeboard). Also, “Most students and their families can expect to pay, on average, from $167 to $1,132 more than last year for this year’s tuition and fees, depending on the type of college,” which makes it difficult when a family barely has the money to afford the expenses in the first place (Collegeboard). According to research done by Collegeboard, in the twenty years from 1976 to 1996, the average tuition at public universities increased from $642 up to $3,151. This is a very significant increase and a large sum of money for most anyone in today’s society to pay.

All students have the right to know what their tuition money is going toward and why prices are increasing more quickly than overall inflation (Collegeboard). It could be assumed by the average onlooker that prices are increasing because of finances needed to fund the institution are also increasing. If this is the case then there should be documentation of these increases but, “academic institutions have made little effort either on or off campus to make themselves transparent to explain their finances,” (Collegeboard). There is no documentation that describes what every penny of tuition pays for. It is only stated that it goes toward “administrative costs, faculty salaries, technology, Federal regulation, endowment, State appropriations,” (Collegeboard). But why are the costs rising? Patrick M. Callan, president of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, states that “there's not much going on in either private or public higher education that is very...
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