The Terrifying Rise in College Tuition

Emily Craig, Staff Writer

The cost of college is increasingly on the rise all around the world, particularly in the United States. According to USNews.com, in-state and out of state tuition rose 4% and “the average tuition and fees at private colleges climbed 3%” in the 2019-2020 school year. This cost vastly outpaces the rise in annual wage which holds around a 0.5-1% increase depending on the field of work as stated in a report by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

These costs are a major concern for current and future college students and their parents, as they should be. The average student loan debt in 2017 was $31,172, which all totals to $1.7 trillion dollars through the entire US (Debt.org). Moreover, CNN noted “The typical family uses loans to cover 20% of the cost of college,” which just leads to further debt through the high interest on those loans. Cate Cullison, a junior here at WTHS, touched on this by mentioning, “I’m the youngest of three, so my parents have to pay two other college tuitions and now they are way too expensive. It’s just stressful.” This exemplifies the worry that college is becoming so expensive that it will be out of the realm of possibility for the normal student.

Most students rely on scholarship money to cover some if not all of the cost of college. That same article by CNN revealed that “scholarships and grants (money you don’t have to pay back) are covering 34% of the costs for the typical American family.” This is wonderful news for most families, but scholarships often fall short. Applying for grants and scholarships is a cumbersome process that does not even guarantee the acquisition of funds. A multitude of students depend on athletics to get enough money to pay for college. Another Warren student, Kassandra Jimenez, expressed her need for athletic scholarship, saying, “if I don’t get recruited, I can’t go to the college I want to. My family just doesn’t have the money.” This idea resonates with many student-athletes who have dedicated their lives to sports in order to have the chance to attend a university.

There are often ways students are told we can lessen the cost. We are told to take as many AP courses as possible. These classes give many the opportunity to receive college credit in a high school class, presuming they get a good score on the AP exam at the end of the year (for more on the topic of AP exams, see the article entitled “Are AP Tests Worth $100?”). However, this strategy is quite ineffective as all the most elite schools, such as the Ivy League, do not accept most AP credits and the ones that do require a 5 (the highest possible score). Most, if not all, the ways we are told to mitigate the cost of college are inefficient at best and worthless at worst. 

On the topic of the Ivy League, the price tag on elite universities is the highest it has ever been. The most expensive college based on the 2017-2018 school year was the Ivy League’s own Columbia University coming in at $54,504 (townandcountrymag.com). Numerous students have strived for the top universities but with such high cost, this might not be a possibility to almost all of them notwithstanding having proper qualifications.

With these constant inordinate costs for higher education, all students at some point are forced to call into question whether college is even worth it. If this trend of increasing prices continues with time, soon no one except the absurdly rich will be able to attend university. These intense prices force us into a debate about our rights to education. All of this and much more is relevant to the question of college cost but ultimately, the future of these prices is largely unknown.

Sources:

https://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/paying-for-college/articles/paying-for-college-infographic

https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/earnings-and-wages.htm

https://www.debt.org/students/

https://money.cnn.com/2016/06/29/pf/college/how-to-pay-for-college/index.html?iid=EL

https://www.townandcountrymag.com/society/g16620959/most-expensive-colleges/

Images:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/College

https://www.usatoday.com/story/college/2017/06/09/private-college-tuition-is-rising-faster-than-inflation-again/37432483/