In the world of today, it isn’t easy to get a well-paying job without a degree. Why is college so expensive? That is a question people ask. Unfortunately, the cost of education has gone beyond the reach of many parents. Apart from the tuition fees, students have to buy books, pay for board and room, and buy food and pay for medical expenses. An average American family may not be able to afford all these. To make matters worse, tuition costs have been rising over the years, making it look like a college is a preserve for a particular group of people. But why is college so expensive? Read on to find the answer to this question.
The U.S. News & World Report usually rank colleges every year, and this is a huge deal for many colleges. Any college that improves in its ranking will receive several applicants. This means the admission officers will become more selective. For example, they will require a high SAT score for those who want to join and will spend less on student financial aid. On the other hand, they will be forced to spend more on student services. The net effect of all this is an increase in tuition fees.
In many Americans’ minds, the colleges that have been making it into the top ten spots in rankings are synonymous with exclusivity and excellence. For this reason, the amount these colleges charge for tuition doesn’t matter to some parents. These parents feel it is prestigious for their children to join Ivy League institutions, and they are ready to pay anything to achieve that. This has given these colleges leeway to charge whatever they want. In fact, charging high fees adds to their prestige. The result is that many parents will do whatever it takes for their children to join these elite colleges, even if it means incurring huge debts.
It’s not about perception. Studying in these prestigious colleges leads to fat paychecks after graduation. Research has shown that students who graduate from prestigious colleges get paid 20% more than their colleagues who graduate from other colleges.
The university today isn’t just about studying and earning your degree. These institutions nowadays offer full-service experience comprising of exceptional student support.
Colleges also hire associate deans and many other deans to take care of the research and student affairs. There are also admission officers charged with recruiting top applicants and the marketing and communication staff that work on the public image (brand) of the college.
Expensive Technology Upgrades
Technology is dynamic. The technology used in a college today may become obsolete in a few months. As colleges struggle to keep par with the current technology, they have to incur high upgrade costs. Besides, colleges with equipment that can not upgradable are forced to purchase new ones, leaving the old ones lying in disuse.
A modern college must have the latest technologies to enhance student learning. Some of these technologies may include videoconferencing suites, powerful workstations, CAD software, to mention a few College administrators also need modern technology to manage students and college activities. These technologies require massive investment. Additionally, specialists will have to get hired to install and manage them. The costs of doing all these will eventually land on the student’s shoulder.
Reduction in Public Funding
Even before you consider a scholarship or a grant, your state government is supposed to provide subsidies aimed at making public college more affordable to you. However, when the Great Recession kicked in, these subsidies began to shrink. Today, nearly all states have had their education funding slashed to plug in budget deficits.
Some states have reduced their education funding by more than 30%. With the reduction in public funding, colleges have no option but to raise funds through other means. Which, of course, is through raising college fees.
A typical college has various departments, including research divisions, student services, the athletic department, and several schools. It is a big challenge to manage such a sprawling institution. American colleges operate under shared responsibilities in which the various schools and departments have their department heads and deans. We also have the top leadership, including the high-ranking deans and the college president. At the top, we have the board of trustees.
Whenever a decision needs to be made, it becomes difficult to reach a consensus because all these administrators have their interests. Even matters that touch on cost-reduction may not be agreed upon, with the result that it is the student that suffers.
Castle or College?
Then there’s the food. The modern dining facilities in colleges look like stylish health-conscious restaurants. You’ve all kinds of foods to sample, including vegetarian options. Other high-end amenities include fitness and athletic facilities (all professional-grade), state-of-the-art laboratories, and modern lecture halls that are fully wired. All these luxuries increase the cost of studying in colleges.
Let’s Wrap It Up
Hopefully, you are no longer asking why college is so expensive because now you know. A student in America is in the hands of fate. In as much as the government may try to lower the cost of education, the reality is that the government itself can not afford to subsidize education to the extent that it can be affordable to ordinary citizens.
Still, the government can develop stringent measures to control the so-called Ivy League institutions’ tuition fees. Student loans should also be made available to needy students at reasonable interest rates.
Till now most students say that it is worth it to go to college despite the rising college fees and the low demand for the emerging workforce to the stagnant wage fee. On average, the net return rate of all the college investment is 14%.
Logically speaking would reduce the number of jobs available and increase the tax. This is because almost everyone would be able to afford to go to college.
Technically this would create an avalanche in the workforce pool which word increase the property taxes
So far Havard Mudd college is the most expensive college with a tuition fee of $75,003 per year.