High costs of college education
In the modern world, we are being faced with constant fluctuations in prices of almost everything. This has been attributed by inflation and the loss in value of currencies. The education is one of those areas that have been affected. The cost of education has been on the rise since time in memorial in the United States. It is estimated that the college tuition prices have increased by 1120% since 1978 (Reaume, 2014). This figure is more than the increase in prices that has been observed in the food and medical sector. In fact, Bloomberg reported that, the college tuition price has gone up four times more rapidly than the consumer price index (Reaume, 2014). This sudden increase has also outpaced inflation. In 2012, CNN reported that the cost of public education is a little under $6000 while that of private colleges is about $25000 (Thompson, 2015). The hike in tuition fees is alarming but most of the times are unintended. However, they have detrimental consequences to most students because they are unable to meet the cost of education. What are some of the reasons that have attributed to the increase in the education prices? What are some of the effects that have been felt by the students? What alternative forms of education exist? How do they compare with the pre-existing school systems? How does this increase compare to other countries’ cost of education?
Today’s status of both private and public colleges imposes new tuition prices almost every year to students. In most cases students are unable to pay for education at these increasing prices. For this reason, it becomes difficult for most of the students to raise their schools fees due to the high school fees imposed on them. College education is a popular subject among the presidents. For the past two decades, the school fees of college education were not that high compared to today. Most governments had subsidized the cost of college education systems in their countries. Nonetheless, people wanted to make a better life for themselves and they figured out that the only way that they could do this was by making sure that they got education. As a result, the demand for education rose. Since college has become a necessary commodity these days, the cost of attaining college education is constantly rising, even thought, sometimes the increase in cost is not justified. Some experts have a very strong opinion as to why college education is on a rise, and some believe that it is not on the rise. To understand this issue, I will first examine the history and the context from which it arose. There has been an increase in tuition every year for globalization, institution policies and government regulations affecting students who does not have the economic resources to pay for it.
There have been numerous assumptions onto why the cost of education has risen rapidly. The rise of tuition is mainly due in part because the colleges need more money for improvement and to ensure that they are up to date with the latest technology. Most colleges want to be state of the art kind of schools that can attract a lot of students to study there. For this reason, some have taken the institutions to be more business oriented than education oriented. Consequently, most colleges have attracted partners into the school boards who are key financiers in projects. They have put up the latest buildings, equipment which are up to date with the latest technology. The sad part about it is that all these come at the detriment of the students. For the students to enjoy the cozy nature of this kind of schools, they have to ensure that they pay handsomely for it. After all nothing good comes cheap. In addition to all these, the cost of living is also increasing. The faculty members also expect to take home a good salary that is enough to sustain the family, and ensure that they live a comfortable life. As a result, they expect to be rewarded well for the services that they render in these schools. The subordinate staff in the school also expects the same. Therefore, it becomes necessary for the school to make enough money to remunerate their employees in the best way possible.
There are also many other reasons why tuition fees is on the rise. One administrator once said, “As almost every state reels from the effects of recession and tax cuts, legislatures slash funding for higher education, the largest discretionary item in most state budgets (Salt, 2011)” This is also supported by Gallaher, a college administrator who said that “A need to improve facilities, state budgets that are declining and inflation are all contributing to the rising cost of higher education, and there appears to be no end in sight (Gallapher, 1998).”
The constant increase in tuition fees that is being observed in the education sector can also contribute to rising cases of school drop outs (Thompson, 2015). This is because, these students are unable to afford the tuition fee and everything else becomes so overwhelming for them. If they are unable to make enough money to pay for their courses, or they cannot get enough scholarships and loans, they do not have a choice. As a result, the students opt to drop out (Thompson, 2015). In addition to that, most students also push their graduation dates a little bit further. This is because they opt to take few courses since they are more affordable. This makes them stay in school for a longer time. Thus late graduations.
An increase in the cost of education has also been attributed by the increase in student loans. The government had taken an initiative of giving students loans so that they can pursue their studies with no pressure of worrying about where they will get the school fees from. They are then encouraged to pay the loan once they have acquired a job. In as much as this move seems like a worthy cause, it is detrimental to students. This is because most of them graduate with hefty debts that they are expected to finance (Thompson, 2015). Being novices in the job market, they land themselves jobs that do not attract a hefty salary. They are expected to finance their student loans from the salary they get. This becomes hectic for them. Advisors have estimated that about 70% of the students in America take loans to finance their studies. These loans are estimated to be of about $33000 which translates to a total of over $1.2 trillion (Reaume, 2014). These figures in turn affect the economy because the amount has surpassed the credit card debt that the country holds. This problem does not seem like it will come to an end anytime soon. This is because more students are getting into school and they also require taking a student loan so that they can study. It is estimated that between 2012 and 2013, about $110.3 billion was taken out as student loans (Reaume, 2014)
It’s high time that countries have to come up with solutions to the problems of the hikes in the cost of college education. Governments must set up a certain number of students’ enrolment in its colleges. Some colleges have a below average number of students that makes them to raise their school fees so that they can operate effectively. Students have also to be provided with a variety of financial aid including sponsorships and subsidized loans such that they can facilitate their learning. Governments should increase the pool of finances that facilitate higher learning education specifically for the students who come from vulnerable families and are in private colleges. Government should set up student internships such that they don’t tarmac for long in the acquisition of employments while they are in colleges and after they are through with their college education. The most reliable solution is for the governments to take the responsibility of financing its entire education system starting from kindergarten to the acquiring of degrees.
It is also worth mentioning that some countries offer education for free for their citizens. An example of such a country is Saudi Arabia. The education system in Saudi Arabia is quite wide. Like most countries, the education is provided by both the public and private sectors. In Saudi Arabia, the government has taken it upon themselves to subsidize education and to offer it for free. This begins right from kindergarten. Even so, there are some people who doubt the quality of this type of education. The private sector, on the contrary, provides education in the international schools. Most people say that they offer better quality education since they have to pay for it. The perks of being a citizen of Saudi Arabia are that one is able to acquire an education. This is because it is already paid for. The students will be required to provide the necessities such as the books, pens, and food. This is generally a good move because most of the people in that country will be educated. The general belief in Saudi Arabia is that, education is the key to having a better life for every citizen. For this reason, this country spends about 5.6% of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on education (Arif, 2013). This figure is more than what is spent by average countries in the world. This means that, the Saudi Arabian government wants to reduce the poverty and illiteracy level in their country.
The country is largely dependent on oil, and most people are relying heavily on this industry. The country has put up over 150 vocational training centers whereby individuals get to learn and later on get jobs (Staff, 2012). In addition to that, it has also created so many jobs. The country also approximately 24 universities and the syllabus is more diverse (Arif, 2013). This has made it possible for people to acquire education in the country. The best part about it is that they get to graduate without debt because their education is already catered for. The government also offers 5,000 bursaries every year for any student who wants to go and study abroad (Staff, 2012). This shows that is much easier for people to acquire a college education in Saudi Arabia because the costs involved are very minimal. Besides, the tuition cost has already been catered for (Arif, 2013).
The government should take full control of its education system especially in the private sector. Many private students suffer a lot since the cost of education in these private schools is extremely high compared to that in the public schools. It has to ensure that students in private schools do not pay huge lots of school fees at the expense of getting more comfort in their schools. It should come up with better education policies that regulate the school fees that are paid both in public and private schools. This is to save the majority students in the private schools from exploitation the private schools unlike the rich who can afford to any amount of school fees for their sons and daughters.
There is overwhelming proof that colleges need to rearrange the way they are run because tuition prices are growing at a very high rate affecting the ways students pay their education and government support in the educational sector. The rapid increase college tuition fee is becoming an incredible worry if higher education will be a feasible financial concept to the average citizen today or in the near future. Some families have decided to go over different means of studying and getting a college degree since the price has increased. People are different and not everyone is privileged to earn a college degree without a huge financial sacrifice on the part of the family. It becomes difficult and the students feel pressured especially if the parents took a loan to educate them. As a result, the price for acquiring a college education should be subsidized by the government and other stakeholders. It would be good if all the stakeholders and industries involved strike a balance to ensure that the people are able to access education. Or better still; the government should increase the amount of money that they are spending on the education sector.
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