First, let’s cut to the chase and address why, in one sentence from the Association of American Universities (AAU), the cost of higher education keeps rising…and rising:
“Decreasing state appropriations, increased investment in institutional student assistance, rising labor costs, keeping pace with scientific knowledge, updating and maintaining technology, and complying with federal, state and local regulations all drive up college costs.”
Fact #1: The Rising Cost of Tuition Surpasses the Rate of Inflation.
That’s the title of an article written by Jasmine Evans over at Diverse Education. In it he states that back in 1970 it only cost $358 per semester at your average public college! Today, for a typical four year university, you’re looking at a number like $20-$40,000 a year. That doesn’t include living expenses.
Fact #2: Recently Tuition and Fees have Increased in all but California and Maine, with 10 States Hiking Costs by 10% or more.
The biggest increases by far have been felt in Massachusetts and South Carolina, where the price of higher education leaped up by a whopping 26%.
Fact #3: There’s more than 1 Trillion in Student Loans Depressing America.
And that doesn’t include the interest compiling on a daily basis or the rising amount in default. Outstanding student loan debt is skyrocketing. Meanwhile costs keep going up, loans keep getting bigger and millions upon millions of people are still borrowing for college.
Fact #4: 60% of the Students today are using Loans to Cover Costs.
What other option is there? A person would need 2 full time jobs, maybe with another part-time job on the side, to pay for traditional higher education.
Fact #5: Student Debt in America is Increasing by Roughly $3000 a Second.
Yeah…meanwhile college graduates are likely unemployed and living with their parents.
Fact #6: The Costs aren’t being distributed Equally because of Income Disparity.
Income disparity in America is at unprecedented levels. The gap between the poor/struggling majority (dependent on loans) and those wealthy enough to pay cash or go to private institutions is at an all-time high.
Fact #7: Accourding to CourseSmart Tuition Costs have Risen by 1,120% over the Last 30 Years.
Who can keep up with that?
Fact #8: Student Debt has Outpaced both Credit Card Debt and Car Loans.
While politicians and their pundits claim it’s worth it…
Fact #9: The 90 Day Delinquency Rate is Increasing by Double Digits.
Yet, again, there are relatively few college graduates with jobs. Furthermore, the perception of college continues to worsen. College students are spending more time partying, playing video games, skipping class and chasing sex partners and less time studying.
Fact #10: The Amount a Parent needs to Save for a College Education in a Decade is Staggering.
If you live in America and are the proud parent, of say a 6 year old, how much should you save in the next 12 years or so to ensure your child can avoid loans? At the current rate of inflation it’s somewhere in the neighborhood of $150-$200,000. Keep in mind that this is while everything else in the country continues to increase in price: energy, medical costs, food, etc.
None of this is sustainable of course. The trends are alarming and the ways in which the price of higher education is suffocating could ultimately be its undoing. The system must change, and the price must go down if traditional college is going to survive. With opensource education, free online education, MBA programs and the glorification of the “college dropout turned tech startup tycoon” image growing in popularity among millennials, it’s anyone’s guess what the college system will do.
By Ali Asjad
Ali Asjad is a content strategist based in Stockholm, Sweden. He helps companies in vast and varied verticals be more successful and visible online. Circle him on Google+ to further the conversation.