The Different Viewpoints on College Prices


College is a big cultural experience for Americans. As of March 2010 about 55% of the population has tried for some post-high school graduation education, whether it is some college, an associate’s degree, a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, a professional degree, or a doctoral degree (Alters). Enrollment in college has been steadily growing over the 20th and 21st century (Alters). There is not discrimination with the growth either, minorities and female enrollment numbers continue to enlarge as well (Alters). Even the number of international students rises (Alters). The amount of institutions in the United States, also of March 2010, comes to 4,495 degree-granting institutions in the United States—1,672 public and 2,823 private (Alters). Employees at these colleges tend to see salaries above seventy thousand a year (Alters). Public colleges tend to have lower tuition rates and private schools see a full double of the cost a public school can offer (Alters). The prices for college are for most graduating high-school students (to pay on their own) impossible. Private schools have an average cost of $40,476 and for public schools it is about $20,339 (Alters).Why are these prices so high? And should they be lowered? The giant sums for education are caused by a multitude of different things, and though some are justified reasons-colleges should lower tuition.

Institutions, especially private schools, have exaggerated prices; on the quest to argue lower college tuitions one must first understand why these prices have increased by some 50% since 2000 (Why Is College so Expensive?). Now from research it is found that schools have to spend more on amenities rather than help low-salary students (Alters). Also in league with the rising prices was the recent economic recession (Why Is College so Expensive?). Government aid has lessened since the economic hardship; private schools that rely in private donations also saw a drop in gifts (Why Is College so Expensive?). These reasons aren’t even including salary-based explanations. The top tiers of employees at colleges have astronomical salaries that drain money out of the budget for student tuition aid (Why Is College so Expensive?). The deans and presidents have exponentially bigger salaries that pull chucks out of the overall college financial plan (Why Is College so Expensive?). Recently the health care regulations require better health coverage for employees and professors (Why Is College so Expensive?). The last excuse colleges make for high sticker tags is the ability for low-income students to apply for Pell grants (Why Is College so Expensive?). Pell grants are provided by the federal government to families that are of “financial need” (Why Is College so Expensive?).

Those in charge of college budgets and financial planning expect a correlation between tuition and net worth. A huge yearly charge for classes doesn’t necessarily yield more money; you must have a large population to fil the school. Colleges all over still are struggling to operate even with their some $40,000 a year cost (Alter). In fact just this year a local college will be closing-Sweet Briar. Expensive colleges are particularly out of reach for new immigrant and racial families; a drop in prices may help to ease any remaining racial tensions. Also a bigger influx of college graduates could help even the class distinctions and bring more above the poverty line (Freedman). A study from 2012 indicated “that (the) richest 20 percent of households were seven to eight times more likely to enroll in a selective institution than those from the poorest 20 percent” (Freedman). This type of statistic shows that America is not a class-free country, but a more easily accessed education could change that. Some suggest the use of endowments to help sculpt lower university rates (Freedman). Endowments are gifts the college has received or funds saved that are invested to return an inflated profit (Freedman). That plus a bettering economy could increasingly lower tuition rates and eventually yield a more plausible rate for education.

College in the United States is a cultural expectation, but the sky-high prices make it anything but affordable. Reasons for schools to be charging large sums are only to better campus amenities or fund big ticket teams. Savings tools such as investment in the forms of endowments may be the hope for low-income families who cannot afford the posted prices. All in all nobody should have to let money keep them from learning, and that is why universities need to lower tuition.

Rory 10th Grade