Rising College Tuition Costs

Topics: Debt, Education finance, College tuition Pages: 3 (826 words) Published: April 27, 2013
Rising College Tuition Costs
Almost every college student, including myself is asking the question; why is college tuition on the rise? Going to college for most is a dream come true. But Americans dreams are being crushed by the outstanding rise in tuition cost, and student loan debt. According to Marcia Clemmitt in her article on Student Debt, in 2010 student loan debt exceeded national credit card debt with its enormous $830 billion amount, this is the first time in history for this to happen. Unfortunately, this number seems it’s only going to keep rising and keep breaking records, not in a good way.

There are many different opinions out there on why the rise in tuition is happening. According to James Surowiecki of The New Yorker, the rise has to do with something called the Baumol’s cost disease; this theory was established in the sixties by William Baumol an economist. “Baumol recognized that some sectors of the economy, like manufacturing, have rising productivity—they regularly produce more with less, which leads to higher wages and rising living standards. But other sectors, like education, have a harder time increasing productivity.” He goes on to say, “the average student-teacher ratio in college is sixteen to one, just about what it was thirty years ago. In other words, teachers today aren’t any more productive than they were in 1980. The problem is that colleges can’t pay 1980 salaries, and the only way they can pay 2011 salaries is by raising prices” (Surowiecki). Yes, Baumol’s theory might sound like a perfectly reasonable explanation and make perfect sense; I mean everything else is on the rise do to “wage cost”. But as I found with further investigation that isn’t the case.

Between 1999 and 2009 tuition fee rose a staggering 32 percent (Desrochers); they have risen another 17.6 percent in the past 18 months (Clemmitt). While college instructors cost have only rose 5.6 percent over the same period of time. In the article Trends...
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