The Cost Of Higher Education And Its Impact Essay
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Growing cost of higher education is one of much debated topics of recent times. The issue impacts a majority of population in different parts of the United States. A large number of students are unable to afford the growing cost of higher education and they quit their higher studies in the meantime. Reports suggest that more than two-thirds of American students who receive bachelor degree are borrowers. They borrow money and keep paying debts for a substantial amount of time. This paper proposes a discussion on growing cost of education, along with analyzing its impacts on students and various other stakeholders, as well as on the United States of America.
Continuous rising cost of education raising a concern among American families that are they capable to afford the cost of higher education of their children. It is observed that over the past three decades the cost of attending college education has risen higher than the increase in median American household income. Median household income in the country is growing by the rate 6.5 in past four decades; whereas, cost of attending college has grown by the rate of 15 for local and 24 for foreign students. Below given chart is showing the increase in college tuition fee since 1978 in comparison to growth in consumer price, hourly wages, and house prices (The Economist).
Kevin Carey, who looks after the education policy program at the New America Foundation as a director, says that growing student debt indicates towards a deeper crisis in the area of higher education. Carey considers the fact troubling that the frequency of increasing college tuition cost is faster than the income, as well as, inflation. Carey holds educational institutes responsible for growing costs of higher education and suggests that these institutes are unnecessarily doing so. He says, “Colleges and universities] compete with one another not to make money, but for status and prestige, so they buy things that increase their status and prestige in relation to their competitors” (Carey).
The growth in house hold income is not going along with the rise in college tuition fees; it is much lower. This trend shows that attending higher education is becoming difficult for poor and lower middle class families. Schneider & Yin (2007) in their research report mention that a large percentage of students face difficulties in arranging payment for their college fee. Students take loans in order to obtain higher degree. However, a significant percentage of students droop their higher education in between due to unavailability of fund (Schneider & Yin).
Higher college cost de-motivate students to pursue their degree. Students who even decide to obtain higher degree end up with large debt. LaTisha complicated her graduation in year 2006 from University of Georgia. She took debt of $35,000 in order to complete her degree in Spanish language. LaTisha mentioned that after completion of her graduation she realized that her degree is not doing to help her in getting well-paid job. The country has ample number of Spanish speaking people. LaTisha end up working in retail and restaurant shops at hourly wage of around $11 even after paying huger money on her graduation degree (The Economist).
Growing expenses of higher education have compelled millions of American students to take education loans in order to pursue higher studies. Students are burdened with a loan of whooping one trillion dollar. Such a huge amount as loan is not good for American economy and a number of people are worried about it. Recent trend shows that many students are unable to pay their hefty loans. It is not necessary that everyone who has a good degree gets a high salaried job. Delay in paying loans has become quite normal. This issue is becoming critical for the American economy day by day.
Growing expenses compel students to quit their higher studies. McElroy in her research study found that students who do not take debt are two times more likely to complete their degree as compare to students who take debt to pursue their studies. McElory found that 71 percent students with debt of 1000 USD completed their degree course as compare to 34 percent students with 10,000 USD debt. According to another research study conducted at University of California, for each 1000 USD increase in college fee the enrolment rate was decreased by 15 percent (Canadian Federation of Students).
If students do not pursue higher studies, who is going to take care of research and innovation that is the backbone of United States. If students quit higher or technical studies and do not go into research in various areas like defense and health then who will take care of America in the future. How will Americans survive without research and innovation? This issue is not confined to students or parents only, but it affects various aspects of the United States and there is a need to consider this issue in a more serious manner.
A wide range of degree courses often provide no or very low return on the investment. Variety of courses also confuse students and make selection of subject or degree course difficult. It is important for students to select right course and good university in order to get well paid job after successful completion of degree. Courses from art field and humanities cost heavy on the pocket, but they do not provide good return to the students. According to a study conducted on Murray State University, out of 153 degree courses on arts 46 provided worse return as compare to normal return offered by banks on normal treasury bills. 46 courses provided negative returns (less than zero).These universities take large sum from the students and gamble with their future; students on other hand, keep struggling to repay their debt, which they incurred on obtaining higher education and university degree (The Economist).
Becker and Posner (2013) in their blog mention that demand is the main driver behind increase in the cost of education. Higher education offers variety of the benefits such as higher income, better health services and even better prospects of getting good partner. Therefore, despite of significant rise in cost of education people demand it. Becker & Posner also said that universities are charging significant amount because they are delivering good services such as excellent facility, better infrastructure etc. However, the reality is not same (Becker and Posner). A large percentage of students are struggling to get a good job even after getting degree from good university.
Becker & Posner in their discussion completely ignored the demand-supply theory of economic. According to the theory, increase in cost always decrease the demand of products, or services. Similarly significant increase in cost of higher education made it unaffordable for large percentage of poor people. A significant percentage of lower and poor class people either do not pursue or left their high studies in middle in absence of fund. People are required to deploy their efforts in order to earn money for their livelihood (The Economist).
Having considered different aspects of the growing expenses of college education and analyzing various aspects of the issue, the paper concludes that growing expenses of higher education is a matter of serious concerns, not only for students, but also for parents, teachers and others. Growing expenses have compelled students to quit their study. Trends indicate that enrolments of students dropped substantially when tuition fees were increased by educational institutes. Students are forced to quit higher studies in between and this trend is a matter of concern for policymakers. The issue affects the future of the United States of America in different ways.
Becker, Gary, and Posner, Richard. "Higher College Costs and its Consequences- Becker." 13 October 2013. becker-posner-blog. Electronic. 26 March 201.
Carey, Kevin. "What's Driving College Costs Higher?" 26 June 2012. npr. electronic. 26 March 2015.
"Higher education: Galloping inflation in American college fees." 2 September 2010. The Economist. Electronic. 26 March 2015.
"Impact of High Fees." 2015. Canadian Federation of Students-fcee. Electronic. 26 March 2015.
"Is college worth it?" 5 April 2014. The Economist. Electronic. 26 March 2015.
Schneider, Mark and Yin, Lu. The High Cost of Low Graduation Rates: How Much Does Dropping Out of College Really Cost? Descriptive. Washington, DC: American Institutes for Research, 2011. Print.
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