Higher Education: Cost vs. Worth

Topics: College, Higher education, University Pages: 8 (2683 words) Published: January 13, 2014
Cost vs. Worth: The Dilemma of Higher Education

As many approach graduation from high school, the same question overwhelms a vast majority of young, college-hungry graduates: How will I pay for college? Price is no secret when it comes to higher education, but shrouded in mystery is the true debate. For while many may think price is the latest hot topic, the true debate isn’t actually over price – it’s over worth.

Many diverse people with just as diverse opinions present several views to take in the confusion of cost versus worth. From finances to student needs to options outside of college, many perspectives come together and share their own lights and opinions on the beast that is higher education.

With so many options, it’s no wonder people have clashing opinions over college worth. What all can agree on is the differences in each option presented. Each option has and array of strengths and weaknesses in all sorts of subjects. Some schools are able to work with students to fit their needs, while others are easier to fit those struggling financially. Though there are so many topics open for debate, recurring themes include: Money, student needs, and alternatives to getting a college education.

While many high school students wish they could be Peter Pan, never growing up and never having responsibilities, the world just doesn’t seem to work with them. When the reality check comes at graduation, these students soon realize the beasts of adulthood. The most notorious beast these students face is the monster of money. Notorious for greedily gulping down student incomes faster than they can earn their next paycheck, this monster shows no mercy as these students upgrade their education to college. As authors attempt to warn students of the monster ahead of them, some dispel the rumors of the debt crisis, while others bemoan the excessive business-like structure of some of the best educational institutions.

Professors Andrew Hacker and Claudia Dreifus present a staggering idea at the very beginning of their essay “Are Colleges Worth the Price of Admission?” Their opening sentence states, “Tuition charges at both public and private colleges have more than doubled – in real dollars – compared with a generation ago” (Hacker 179). American prides itself on its educational opportunities, but Hacker and Dreifus give the warning that opportunity might well be synonymous with burden of bank account. While education gives graduates a wide variety of options post-college, the burdensome debt they manage to weasel their way in to cause the glorious life of a college graduate to become a terrifying financial strain on their otherwise promising futures. Researcher Kevin Carey would concur with Hacker and Dreifus, but Carey limits himself to for-profit colleges, focusing his disdain on for-profit colleges and their money-driven education. However, Carey gives the recognition that for-profit colleges do not hide their business-like structure. He does state that it is the “financially unsophisticated consumers” who are targets of these abusive business-market for-profit colleges (Carey 217). Carey also states that colleges are “loading students with crushing debt in exchange for low-value degrees” (Carey 219).

The opposing view is also argued, and is argued vehemently, by a woman named Robin Wilson. Wilson reports on the less-vocalized stories of those with manageable debt from their college experience. While those who have fought long and hard with the ferocious monster of money are very vocal about their battle scars of deepening debt, other less vocal knights have their own version of the battle to tell. Wilson gives the stories of three valiant knights who escaped the battle with barely any scrapes to speak of. Robert Carter, a schoolteacher who graduated from college, is able to manage his debt comfortably. Carter actually states that “It’s not all luxury for sure,...

Cited: Addison, Liz. “Two Years Are Better Then Four.” They Say/I Say 2nd Ed. w/ Readings. Ed. Gerald    Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, Russel Durst. New York: W.W. Norton, 2012. 211-214. Print.
Carey, Kevin. “Why Do You Think They’re Called For-Profit Colleges?” They Say/I Say 2nd Ed. w/ Readings. Ed. Gerald
Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, Russel Durst. New York: W.W. Norton, 2012. 215-221. Print.
Hacker, Andrew, and Claudia Dreifus. “Are Colleges Worth the Price of Admission?” They Say/I Say        2nd Ed. w/ Readings. Ed.Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, Russel Durst. New York: W.W. Norton, 2012. 179-189. Print.
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Wilson, Robin. “A Lifetime of Students Debt? Not Likely.” They Say/I Say 2nd Ed. w/ Readings. Ed. Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, Russel Durst. New York: W.W. Norton, 2012. 256-273. Print.
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