by Mike Acciavatti
This week I read a very interesting article which addressed the idea of college cost. It gave a perspective of not just the normal, run of the mill ideas on how to make college more affordable for your family. One such point was that the wealth gap in this country “isn’t just the broad chasm that separates the rich and poor, but the gap between the rich and everyone else.”
The article also states that the decreasing middle class is pushing more people lower in class than up. This is seen as a critical problem because a person who spends most of their “bread winning” years paying off a previous debt instead of spurring the economy with big purchases such as a house, car etc… is actually detrimental to the society as whole. The article states that making up a previous debt, though better than defaulting, is not necessarily a great thing for the economy of a country.
One potential solution is a work early program which a number of colleges have already instituted. The program creates a means of graduating high school with a fast track into college, whether that is by actual credits earned or at least a full game plan and a 4 year graduation strategy. In return for these things the students themselves must get good grades, have a strong work ethic, and be willing to work at least part time in college. Overall the problem addressed is the decades a person graduating from college spends simply paying off debt and not contributing. If we stop this we can stop the unending cycle of debilitating college debt.
by Philip Wubbolt
Higher education costs have been rising for years and compared to how the prices of other goods have risen, there is a significant difference in how much those prices had risen. From 1985 until now, the costs for higher education had risen in excess of 500%. Compared to other goods and services, this is absolutely significant. Medical costs have risen in excess of 280% and 120% in the consumer price index. This rise in higher education costs, further exacerbates the problem of the inequality and income gaps. If a family is unable to pay for college, this can inhibit that child’s ability to further his education and have a higher paying job. This then has a compounding effect on further and later generations. There are efforts from politicians to lower or slow the rising costs for education, however these efforts have not made much of a difference. The question now is, are students and kids getting what they paid for? Are the jobs kids are receiving after college, making up for the significant prices?
See: College Costs Surge 500% in U.S. Since 1985: Chart of the Day
A Philadelphia Inquirer article on a new poll from the Stockton Polling Institute shows that adults view cost as the largest obstacle to getting a college degree. The chart below shows that all other categories of problems related to obtaining a college education pale in comparison to paying for it.
Not surprisingly, citizens place much more trust in university administrators to provide a quality education as opposed to state elected officials. However, they believe that both have the responsibility to make education more affordable. About 42% said that more state funding and financial aid is needed while 45% claim that cost control and more modest tuition increases would help more people achieve a university degree.