College tuition has risen due to an increase in supply and demand as more people begin attending college. Between 1994 and 2014 college tuition has risen 110% to attend a four-year university. In 1950, the percentage for males and females were low, averaging 6.5% together of those who completed a four-year college degree. However, in 2016 that risen to 33.45% of both males and females attending college and who completed a four-year degree. As more people began going to college, colleges began raising the price of tuition to accommodate for the increase in students and the increase of demand for a higher education.
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Countries such as Europe offer free college for students who live there and even foreign students because they pay more taxes. People argue that paying more taxes for people to do something for free is obscure because college should be funded by those who attend not taxpayers. We need to learn about what we can do about the college tuition rising in todays economy.
As the price of living rises so does our college tuitions. The price of housing has increased risen by 14% in the last 3 years according to an online source, (GoBankRates no p.) However, with the increase of the cost of living; GoBankRates has found that the household income has not gone up, leaving many Americans struggling to keep up with the steady increase.
For example, Colorado Springs, Colorado’s cost of living has increased a 35.61% just from 2017 to 2018. Those who lived in Colorado Springs to live comfortably in 2017 needed $49k but with the increase jump that happened a year later cost that amount to double to $67k. With the rise of the cost of living to the rise of college tuition, how are people going to afford college if they can barely live? Moreover, community colleges are even raising the cost of tuition.
Shown in Table 1, the comparison from a private university to a community college is extravagant and the rise over the years has steadily increased. The table shows from 1987 to 2018 that in private universities has risen a whopping $19,580 in a course of 3 decades whereas public universities have risen and nice $6,780 in that same time frame.
In the scholarly article, Rising Tuition in Higher Education: Should we be Concerned, states, “Colleges compete for students, and the means of attracting top students–hiring the best professors, maintaining beautiful campuses, etcetera– costs money…” and goes on to say, “It is economically justifiable to pay high tuition for the best education. Students will choose the school where the difference between expected additional lifetime earnings with a degree, and net college tuition, is greatest. In theory, the higher quality education one receives, the higher their lifetime earnings will be. Schools with lower tuition do not have the revenue to hire top professors or to maintain modern learning technology.” Suggesting that paying more for college is for the quality of education as well, when in fact as mentioned before many countries offer college for free because the people living there pay more taxes. Are we supposed to believe that the cost of college tuition is high solely for the quality of education while other countries humor themselves at us because we pay for college and while they attend for free?
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What has the government done about this increase in college tuition? Well in 2013 President Barack Obama tried to make college more affordable. Obama had increased the maximum Pell Grant award for working families and middle-class families by $900, which created the American Opportunity Tax Credit. (The White House no p.) The White House mentioned that for a four-year university, the college tuition has increased 250% in the past three decades, while incomes for average families grew only by 16%. Which means with the rise of college tuition those who graduated left with $26k in debt. Leaving students who graduated from a four-year university a burden of debt and making it harder for them to start a family, buy a house or start a retirement plan. “To help student borrowers struggling with their existing debt, the President is committed to ensuring that all borrowers who need it can have access to the Pay As You Earn plan that caps loan payments at 10 percent of income and is directing the Department of Education to ramp up its efforts to reach out to students struggling with their loans to make sure they know and understand all their repayment options.” (The White House no p.) This will help students pay back their student loans at a pay that is reasonable for them and with a low interest rate that cannot go higher than 10%.
However, people argue that the rise of college tuition is understandable; because the more students that attend there will be an increase of needs and maintenance. With that being said, we can understand that the reason for the increase is reasonable and that the people who attend, whether they pay out of pocket, with financial aid or scholarships that the money goes to the school and to the people who work and maintain the school. But the consequence of that is if you were to be a student who dropped out past the deadline or did not keep good grades you would have to pay back that money back, which is also understandable. And those financial burdens come back to you, leaving us still wondering why college is so expensive. We can come to an understanding that it is understandable that college tuition has risen because of the influx of students but how come in Europe, college is free?
Moreover, the reason why college is free in Europe is because they pay higher taxes; which allows the government to give debt-free college tuition, even offering free education to foreign students as well. Germany has the highest taxes in 2014 with a total tax wage of 49.3%, which is giving people the freedom of free education that’s not technically due to the higher taxes people pay. Although, according to the BusinessInsider article; Germany also has a lesser number of students who attend than the US. Which means, maybe Germany can afford the cost because of the lower number in attending students in their colleges as oppose to the US. If other countries can pay higher taxes and receive a debt-free college education, then why has not America implemented this into our society? Opposers argue that since it is not free it would increase taxes and they simply do not want to pay more for clothing, household items and other things. Even though they know that the tax increase would do more for the economy by increasing the quality of living, they argue that it wouldn’t be ideal. But the rising cost of college and the rising of the cost of living people are going to have a harder time making it on their own. The college tuition cost should be more affordable or completely free like Germany. With understanding that maybe Germany can afford the attending students to give them passage to a free education unlike America because of the low number of students, why hasn’t the US tried to increase the taxes we pay and start paying for most of the college tuition and lower the out of pocket cost for attending students? Even that would have an expediential impact on the cost of college tuition.
The way that the economy is going with higher prices and minimum pay we should not expect many people to attend college when they live on their own. Knowing the benefits of a college degree but also knowing how unobtainable it is for the everyday person such as the middle-class and especially the lower-class. They will begin having a harder time putting money forth to a higher education with the rise of college tuition on top of living costs in general. If America taxed more such as Germany, perhaps the government could pay for colleges for the increase of supply and demand and even just lowing the tuition and bring the rise of college tuition to a halt would have a significant impact as more people would be driven to finish degrees and earn degrees. America needs to be more for the people and reasonable with cost of college tuitions. The rise is not going to slow down anytime soon, and many people will end up with student loan debt and unfinished degrees if we do not do something about this now.
- Bromley, Mary, Why Is College Tuition Rising So Much? And What Can You Do?, March 5, 2018, https://www.cornerstone.edu/blogs/lifelong-learning-matters/post/why-is-college-tuition-rising-so-much-and-what-can-you-do. Accessed on 20 July 2019.
- Huddleston, Cameron, Unemployment Is Low, Wages Are Up — But Cost of Living in America Keeps Rising, Dec 27, 2018, https://www.gobankingrates.com/making-money/economy/rising-cost-of-living-in-america/. Accessed on 19 July 2019.
- Jackson, Abby, ‘Free’ college in Europe isn’t really free, June 15, 2015, https://www.businessinsider.com/how-do-european-countries-afford-free-college-2015-6. Accessed on 23 July 2019.
- Martin, Emmie, Here’s how much more expensive it is for you to go to college than it was for your parents, Nov 29, 2017, https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/29/how-much-college-tuition-has-increased-from-1988-to-2018.html. Accessed on 17 July 2019.
- Renehan, Stewart, Rising Tuition in Higher Education: Should we be Concerned?, August 2015, https://scholar.oxy.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=&httpsredir=1&article=1001&context=liberalarts. Accessed on 19 July 2019.
- The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, FACT SHEET on the President’s Plan to Make College More Affordable: A Better Bargain for the Middle Class, August 22, 2013, https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2013/08/22/fact-sheet-president-s-plan-make-college-more-affordable-better-bargain-. Accessed on 23 July 2019.
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