by AMBER KELLY Photographer
College tuition, combined with the various other costs associated with higher education, has seen a startling increase in the last decade. According to the College Board’s “Trends in College Pricing 2012,” tuition at private non-profit four-year colleges has risen by 60 percent since the mid-1980s, while tuition at public four-year colleges has risen by 104 percent.
In a society where a college degree is essential to getting a good job, high school seniors and their families are forced to pay the staggering college costs. Currently, there is about $902 billion to $1 trillion in outstanding student loan debt, and that number is only going to increase as more and more students enter college.
“The idea of student loan debt scares me, because soon I’m going to be in college and having to take out loans to pay for it. Just like a lot of other people my age, I’m going to be stuck in a lot of debt from my student loans after I graduate. That puts even more pressure on me to get a decent job after college,” says senior Stephanie Pasewaldt.
Why has college become so much more expensive? Well, one of the reasons is the federal government is giving fewer grants to colleges, meaning that their main form of revenue has become the tuition that their students pay.
A large chunk of this tuition is used to pay the administration, so with that being said, are college students really getting their money’s worth? Some would say no.
Many college professors utilize teachers aides (TAs) in the classroom, the problem with this being that recently there have been complaints that the TAs are doing the teaching, rather than the qualified professors. With some professors making upward of $100,000 per year, people are unhappy with the fact that their money is going to professors who might not even be teaching.
Many students also complain about the cost of books, as the average amount paid is $1,100 per year. Colleges purposely change the required book or books for a class so that students are forced to buy new ones, generally from the college’s bookstore. This is just one way that colleges get even more money from their students.
“I have a sister in college and she’s always mad that her professors keep changing the required book. If they didn’t change the book, then she could easily get one from people she knows that already took the class. With a new book requirement, she has to go buy one, and all these books for her classes add up to a lot of money,” says senior Toby Emelle.
A lot of the money colleges get from tuition payments also goes toward sports. Over the years, funding for college sports has increased as sports, such as football, have required more players and more traveling to play. For each added player, extra funding is required, which adds to a colleges’ need for higher tuition costs.
Unfortunately for current high school students, the cost of college is not decreasing any time soon. With inflation and universities’ mounting need for funds, prospective college students are looking at a gaping hole in their bank accounts for years to come.
Do you think college is worth the cost?