Building a Showcase Campus

by Justin Jackson

I can say almost with absolute certainty that many of us students attending Widener University enjoy the many amenities and appurtenances the school has to offer, from the Pride Recreation Center to the new Harris Hall and its conveniently located Moe’s Grill and Einstein’s Bagels. They, as well as everything else, are very appealing and most certainly do add to the bonuses of the campus and the school as a whole. However, the cost of such benefits and additions is very much a big one to bear. Today, as many high school students are comparing their prospective schools of choice, I know that they all are considering what the school of their choice has over other schools descending their “maybe” list. But, what they – as well as the many currently enrolled college students – may not know is that the cost is being passed down to them in this race to build a showcase campus. According to New York Times writer Andrew Martin and researches at Moody’s, the debt colleges and universities have amassed to attract students to attend their school through building and expansion is well over $200 billion. To pay off these high prices, the colleges raise tuition, which cause more in student loans. One such example of elaborate and exuberant building seen on campus is the one built by the Cooper Union in New York City a few years ago. That development caused the already struggling school to amass more debt.

I fondly remember reading an article back when I was a freshman that caught my attention and frankly caught me by surprise because of its strong and fierce claim: college is a big business. Though I could not fathom the reasons behind such an article headline at first glance, upon reading the piece in its entirety, I soon came to understand that higher education has become a business, from the hierarchy of administrative staff all the way down to the mechanism used by colleges and universities to add to their funding. Education is a business because now it is more evident that the race to educate more students is so fierce so colleges can at least attempt to muddle themselves out of the debts they have acquired.

 

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