What’s behind the runaway cost of a college education? According to the College Board, tuition and fees for in-state undergraduate students at public four-year colleges are up an average 8.3 percent this year, roughly three times the overall rate of inflation. (In South Carolina, the increase was a more moderate 2.5 percent.) The costs for in-state undergraduates average $8,244; out-of-state undergrads pay a mind-boggling $20,770.
Private non-profit four-year colleges charge an average $28,500, an increase over last year of “only” 4.5 percent. For-profit colleges charge $14,487, up 3.2 percent. (The latter, obviously, are providing a service deemed less prestigious than the non-profits. Whether the education their enrollees receive is half that of their higher priced competitors is another question.)
For parents hoping to give their children a better start in life than they themselves had, there is another cost consideration. Many of them grew up when four years to an undergraduate degree was the norm.
Now, the length of time taken to get that first degree is stretching out. Either undergraduates are not working as hard in college as earlier generations, or colleges are not working as efficiently.
The excuses given for all of the above are legion. They range from financially strapped states subsidizing public institutions less than they formerly did, to the distractions students today face (e.g., the social media they seem so wedded to, the greater awareness they have of economic and social “injustice,” the burden of crippling student loans and — dare we say it? — an upbringing that did not adequately prepare them for hard work and self discipline.)
And then, of course, there is the amount of time and expense virtually all colleges, even upscale ones, expend in remedial education, in effect teaching what should have been taught in high school or even earlier.
Another curious fact the College Board discovered is that in the last three years, federal grants and loans per student increased by an inflation-adjusted 30 percent. If this taxpayer largesse was meant to contain the rising cost of a college education, it seems to have failed. Miserably.
- My Colleges and Careers Helps Students Plan for College Expenses as College Board Study Shows Increases in Tuition for the 2011-2012 School Year (prweb.com)
- Why Do Students Borrow So Much? Recent National Trends in Student Loan Debt (education.com)
- As State Funds Dry Up, College Costs Skyrocket (businessweek.com)
- 4 Reasons to Listen in on the College Board Forum (drstrangecollege.wordpress.com)
- College Costs Outpace Inflation, Report (huffingtonpost.com)
- An Investment in Your Future: Funding Your Undergraduate Education Through Federal and State … (education.com)
- US College Fees Soar (timesoftexas.com)
- Rising cost of college (timesoftexas.com)