by Taylor Englert
When it comes to the costs of higher education, one thing everyone can agree with is that it is getting out of hand. In the last year tuition and fees have increased 8.3%, which more than doubled the rate of inflation. This increase was not a surprise. It followed the trend of increasing tuition costs that has been occurring for the last decade at an average rate of 5.6%. On top of the high costs, a college degree has become a necessity to obtain a decent career. The only solution for students has become borrowing. The federal government is lending over $100 billion dollars a year to students. Private loans on top of that have left many graduates unable to keep up.
Kevin Carey, a director of Education Sector, a think tank in Washington D.C, compares entering college to getting smuggled across the border. He says “you can get to the promised land if you try hard enough, but you arrive in a state of indentured servitude to the shady operators who overcharged you for the trip.” The image he portrays of the costs of higher education is dark and striking, but realistic. Carey acknowledges the hard work the government is putting in trying to mitigate costs, but doesn’t see it as progress when the tuition fees are still increasing astronomically.
The problem is obvious, but the solutions are vague. Carey sees the high costs as an “inevitable consequence of the way higher education system is currently design.” The system is broken and “static.” It is not changing and developing with the needs of the time. Most higher education institutions are founded in their old ways and traditions. They do not desire to change. Carey believes the government needs to threaten the institutions for reformation to ever occur. The institutions are benefiting themselves when they need to put students and public interest first.