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Money… Or Else!

The flaws of a purely financial college attendance system

By: Alec Stuart

     In a country with as high of a level in education and living standards as the United States, the first thought most people should have toward education is that everyone should have one. Our very culture is built around the preparation of going into the workforce or building a major career, and college is instrumental in this process. However, the bludgeoning costs of going to university are detrimental to this idea.

     To begin, what are colleges at their core? A business. Their model is centered around selecting students for participation in top notch education programs, and that’s great. But money remains the chief goal, especially for private institutions. With the volume of students applying to their campuses having grown exponentially over the past few decades, most colleges assessed that they could charge students much higher than previously done (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, tuition costs and other fees increased by over 1000% between 1978 and 2013). This, combined with the  increasing usage of student loans, has put many students into extreme debt upon graduation, with the mere average being over $35,000. For the most part, intervention has been largely rare since the creation of loans, for doing so would be painted as interfering in free market practices. However, this does not excuse the evident flaws that have just been pointed out.

     To illustrate, the average university tuition costs in 2020 were around 18% higher than just 10 years before. The price gap was even bigger in the late twentieth century, with records showing that multiple members of the U.S. Congress and other institutions had paid just several hundred for their annual college tuition (this example is just to point out the price discrepancy). Nowadays, college loan debt can reach towards $200,000, which takes several years minimum to pay off. And this is all because universities can make the prices at their behest.

     In short, colleges need to prioritize education and making careers before costs. While there is nothing inherently wrong with the need for money, costs for tuition and other factors have been needlessly raised to incessantly high levels. If we want to feel we have the most diverse and high quality education in the world, we need to show it. Blocking students from university is not the way for this.

Published 10/15/2022 – October Edition

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