Costs of Higher Education Essay Example

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1555 Words
Date:  2022-07-25

According to Albert Einstein, education is what remains after we have forgotten what we learned in schools. Nelson Mandela also said that it is only education that can change the world. Clearly, we have schools everywhere because the society has accepted education as part of the human lifestyle and everyone has a right to basic education. The millennium development goals have given education top priority and according to the accord signed by over 190 countries, they all agreed to make education accessible to all citizens in their countries (Johnstone, 2004). Education is a basic need and apart from health, it is the only other sector that has the power to change human's standards of living substantially. We all need to have education for the purposes of understanding our environments and most importantly, make informed decisions. Therefore, a lot of people not only in America are in constant need of education but at times, they are unable to attain the kind of education they're hoped for. There is a number of reasons that contribute to students failing to get the kind of education that they deserve and for the purposes of this discussion, the focus will be on rising costs of higher education.

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The economy of the United States has been changing and in the process, opening up more fields of study. Researchers are working around the clock to reveal a new concept that opens up debate on some subjects that never existed before. Specialization in education has made it possible for students to narrow down their career choices according to their best skills (Altbach et al., 2009). Example, music is a subject that is taught in schools but traditionally, music was not considered a core subject. This shows how education transforms our societies by allowing people to chase their dreams. A doctor can never become a doctor without going to school, the same process applies for an engineer but the cost of education in America has been escalating significantly and a considerable number of students have been locked out in pursuing their most preferred cause simply because they cannot afford to pay for their college fee. As mentioned earlier, education is a right given to every individual and it is the responsibility of the government to provide affordable education. In America, the government has done a great job because of the fact that, America has some of the best schools in the world. Harvard, Stanford and John Hopkins University hospital are some of the best universities. Harvard for a very long time has been known to produce top lawyers and business executives. Stanford University is the bakery of technology geniuses while John Hopkins has been known as a world-class medical school. Ever since Ben Carson separated the famous co-joined twins from Germany, John Hopkins gained a new reputation of being ahead in medical research and teaching. Majority of the American students would want to join such universities but they cannot due to the high costs of higher education especially from such institutions. It is a shame for a country like the U.S to have it citizens work endlessly through shifts in order to raise money for college and yet sons, daughters and family members of corrupt individuals in developing countries enjoy the luxury of what American universities have to offer.

Every year, American universities and colleges receive thousands of applications from people all over the world. This is because America offers world-class education and it is great that some of these students who come to school in America have actually contributed to the growth of America. Barrack Obama has more than once told his story of how his father came to America to look for a better education. His father was a bright Kenyan student and he was lucky to have gotten a scholarship to study in world Class University. It is in school that Senior Obama met Obama Mum who was American. American education system gave Americans their 44th president who was the first African American president. Ellon musk is another notable individual who migrated to America and again, becoming a very influential contributor to society. Despite the benefits of welcoming immigrants to study in America, there is a need to focus on what is happening in the small towns especially the downtowns like the south side of Chicago. There are bright students from disadvantaged communities who have their dreams crushed by the realization they cannot afford the college fee. Education is supposed to change the world but it is hard for that to happen if people who have the capability to read and school cannot due to the high costs of higher education.

The gap between the rich and the poor will keep growing since the poor cannot afford education, the elites in the society who are the rich will continue taking the well-paying jobs simply because they had an opportunity to study in a prestigious university. According to the College Board, the average amount of money an in-state student will pay for one-year college is $20,090, the costs increase to about $ 34,220 if the student is from another state (Mitchell, Palacios & Leachman, 2014). When you compare the figures with a country like Germany, Sweden, and Denmark, they offer free university education. Raising $20,000 for a student who had his father jailed for 20 years is a big burden that students have to carry. They have to struggle every single day and every hour of their lives thinking of how to save up much money for them to join college. Some of these students have been forced by the system itself to drop college and engage in criminal activities and drug abuse. America needs to make education affordable for its citizens due to the fact that, it is Americans who have to deal with problems associated with college dropouts who turned out to be drug lords and in worst case scenarios, addicts. Drug abuse is one of the biggest issues the society is confronting, while all attention has mostly been focused on killing the drug cells and cartels, it is time the government deals with the problem by offering cheap and affordable education. Most of these kids in the streets are bright with the only limitation being lack of college fees (Clotfelter, 2014).

The American education system again has one of the world-class students financing programs. Qualified students are always encouraged to apply for college loans. Currently, 44 million Americans have $1.5 trillion debt. This simply means, one out of four American adults is servicing their student loans. When a student graduates, the average student borrower usually has $37,172. Again, this is also a big burden for a freshly graduated student who cannot find a job because the first degree is slowly losing its marketability. Despite the friendly monthly payments of $393, it is quite difficult for a student who graduated but cannot find a job due to some reasons based around his ethnicity and race. The rising costs of education are increasingly discouraging students from seeking higher education. Students who come from poor backgrounds have limited options when it comes to joining college. Foundations such as Bill and Melinda Gate, Michael Jordan and other influential and high profile individuals have stepped up in ensuring poor students attain college education through scholarships. More need to be done to avert the situation that will progressively emerge as one of the biggest Americas problem (Archibald & Feldman, 2008). College retention rates are decreasing and it is much worse for young girls who had big dreams of joining college but the dream escapes them due to teenage pregnancies. Not all kids from disadvantaged families get lucky to be talented in sports or any other talent which makes them attain a scholarship. Scholarships are few and as much as these foundations want to help, it is practically impossible to offer scholarships to every needy student in America.


Education has continuously made the society a much better place for humanity. The third world countries are now growing because of improved education. America is known by the world as the center of innovation because it has offered its citizens with great schools and institutions. Education is perhaps what gives America the identity of superpower because our leaders, top C.E.Os, Doctors, politicians, and lawyers have all gone through American education systems. It is critical for America to let her people learn and in large numbers. Immigrants have given America cheap labor and skills for many years but due to modern technology that America gave the world; governments in various countries are now offering the same kind of education America offers at a very affordable cost. If America does not offer affordable education to her citizens, other people in the world are doing great and China is one of the countries that has threatened U.S identity as a superpower.


Altbach, P. G., Reisberg, L., & Rumbley, L. E. (2009). Trends in global higher education: Tracking an academic revolution.

Archibald, R. B., & Feldman, D. H. (2008). Explaining increases in higher education costs. The Journal of Higher Education, 79(3), 268-295.

Clotfelter, C. T. (2014). Buying the best: Cost escalation in elite higher education (Vol. 76). Princeton University Press.

Johnstone, D. B. (2004). The economics and politics of cost sharing in higher education: comparative perspectives. Economics of education review, 23(4), 403-410.

Mitchell, M., Palacios, V., & Leachman, M. (2014). States are still funding higher education below prerecession levels.

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