Essay Example on High College Fees: An American Phenomenon since 1875

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1601 Words
Date:  2023-04-09


Since as early as the year 1875, Americans had to pay excessively high college fees owing to decadence (Finney, 2014). Currently, the United States spends a lot of money on college funding as compared to any other country in the world. In particular, Americans spend about 30,000 dollars per year for their university and college feeds, which is almost twice the amount that college learners in other parts of the world pay (Finney, 2014). The spending per student in the United States is extravagant and does not relate to the educational value that a student gets in exchange. According to Hamzaee (2015), the difficulties of financial management of institutions of higher education emanate from inadequacy budgets. They have contributed to the high costs of college and university education incurred by students. From Hamzaee's (2015) perspective, most university institutions have not learned the technique and skill of financial management since they are either conservative in times of recession or liberal in times of economic prosperity. The issue at hand is more political than economical since most politicians have something to say in their manifesto regarding the high costs of university and college fees. Therefore, this paper analyzes political thoughts and opinions regarding the high prices of college and university education.

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Presidential Candidates Views on High College Education

Most Republicans do not believe that the government should have a role in funding public higher education. Instead, Finney (2014) argued that Republicans find that the parents and students wishing to attend colleges should incur the costs. In addition to that, Republicans feel that they have no obligation to regulate how businesses operate. From Trump's perspective, solving the issue would entail increasing access to for-profit colleges, and capping loans offered to students.

Theoretically, Farrington (2019) asserted that profit colleges would increase peoples' access to higher education. As such, this would yield deteriorated costs of a college education. Practically, however, this could be different. When profit colleges are unregulated, they tend to focus more on the profits accrued than the outcome of students, which is burdensome and worrisome to learners. In addition to that, Gelbgiser (2018) indicated that for-profit institutions could increase their sources of revenue in ways that are not beneficial to learners. More so, the innovative services provided may not be conducive to the overall outcomes of learners. According to Gelbgiser (2018), for-profit colleges and universities often use their accreditation to increase the rates of tuition. In consequence, this increases college enrolment fees and debt. It is worth noting that subsidized loans and Pell Grant Dollars are often channeled to for-profit sectors. The profits accrued in such institutions emanate from funded student aid from the taxpayers. The high costs that could presumably increase when for-profit colleges increase tuition fees due to their exemplary accreditations could influence retention of students adversely, especially for the disadvantaged ones. Such actions, as Gelbgiser (2018) stipulated, question the effectiveness of for-profit colleges, as proposed by the Republican Party, in reducing college expenses for students.

Further, Trump is proposing a cap on student loans, which means limiting the amount of money that parents and graduate students can borrow from the federal institutions. The theory, as Farrington (2019) indicated, assumed that capping the borrowing rate would force colleges towards lowering the tuition fees. In a study by Lucca, Nadauld, and Shen (2018), the results showed that increases in student loans or rather credit expansion for students increased tuition fees. From the experiment conducted. The rise in tuition was not limited to students with access to the credits or loans, but instead, it affected all learners within institutions. The findings by Lucca et al. (2018) seemingly agree with the propositions by Trump and the Republicans to cap loans granted to students since it would force institutions to lower college costs and fees.

Unlike the Republics, Democrats believe in regulating colleges and lenders. They believe that tax money could be directed towards social benefits such as education other than making it an individual's responsibility. Obama proposed free community college while Clinton included tuition-free bachelors' degree as part of her manifesto (Farrington, 2019). Bernie Sanders, also a Democrat, frequently uses free college as part of his signature campaign proposals. The act proposed by the leader entails the elimination of undergraduate tuition at public colleges and universities. The central position of the democrats is to create a situation characterized by debt-free college facilities.

Similarly, Elizabeth Warren proposed the need to eliminate tuition fees and other costs incurred for a learner to attend college. From Warren's perspective, free access to public universities is something that most people since the 19th century have yearned for (Farrington, 2019). The plan proposed by Warren would transition for-profit universities away from receiving federal funds. The debt-free college proposed by the democrat would account for the financial circumstances of every individual.

Importantly, the views of the Democrats and the Republicans differ on matters concerning the high college fees and costs incurred by learners and parents. However, from the analysis conducted, one would likely argue that the democrats have a detailed plan and vision for the country's high college fees as opposed to the Republics. Notably, the idea of introducing free education for college learners by removing tuition fees would enhance social equality. Regardless of one's affordability to pay the high costs, the removal of the tuition fees will benefit every person, which is similar to Medicare and Medicaid. Mainly, this differs from for-profit colleges proposed by the Republicans that would foster social inequality since the colleges would be set primarily for disadvantaged populations.

Solutions to High College Costs

Importantly, the increase in public funding will be required for the removal of tuition fees from public institutions. If the costs of education are subsidized in public institutions, interstate competition among the colleges will decline together with the unrequired expenses that schools focus on to attract students. Hamzaee (2015) argued that universities are increasingly spending on unnecessary materials with claims that they would attract students. Hamzaee (2015) gives an example of the University of Chicago and how it built an arts center, a new library, and a ten-story building within two years in a bid to attract learners, which is an example that shows the extravagant spending of universities. The expenditure would decline with cost subsidies. However, the solution will be costly since taxes would increase, and the overall economy would be stunted.

According to Renehan (2015), high tuition is not a challenge for everyone, particularly those with the ability to cater to the rising costs. The existence of technology has the potential to reduce the strains of high educational costs at colleges. Students should tap this benefit and enroll in online classes since all that is required in a computer and internet within one's home premises. Most colleges in the United States are embracing online learning. With this in mind, most lectures can be found online. Online learning is an example that shows how people are wasting money when trying to afford rising tuition costs. Although arguments are that traditional classrooms are superior to online settings; hence online degrees are less valuable are frequent, leaning online will increase in value and will be the mode of learning practiced in the future.

Renehan (2015) argued that embracing online learning will benefit society since the money spent on tuition could be channeled elsewhere. Higher tuition fees will no longer be a problem. The existing schools are likely to change their structure in a bid to compete with emerging online schools. Primarily, this solution encourages the government of America to channel its resources towards developing and improving online learning, as an attempt to deal with the high costs of tuition. As seen in the sections above, no party is proposing online learning as a solution to the high costs of education. Thus, more research is required to create knowledge to show the need and importance of online learning in minimizing tuition fees for learners.


High costs of college tuition have been a significant challenge in America and other regions in the world. The two main political parties in the United States have proposed different solutions to the issue. The Republicans have proposed for profit colleges and capping of student loans. The analysis made has shown that for-profit colleges would theoretically reduce the high costs. Still, it would be practically challenging since some institutions could increase these costs based on their accreditation. Capping student loans would be useful since research has shown that an increase in student loans leads to a rise in tuition fees. The democrats have proposed free high education, which would lead to high taxes, and the economy would be stunted. The solution proposed involves encouraging online training, which is cheaper and more convenient than traditional classroom mode of learning.


Farrington, R. (2019). The 2020 Presidential Candidates' Proposals on Lowering College Costs.

Finney, E. J. (2014). Why the finance model for public higher education is broken and must be fixed. Public Policy Initiative, 2(6)., D. (2018). College for all, degrees for few: for-profit colleges and socioeconomic differences in degree attainment. Social Forces, 96(4), 1785-1824. doi: 10.1093/sf/soy022

Hamzaee, R. G. (2015). An exploratory analysis of higher education financial challenges and innovations. Journal of Business and Economics, 6(4), 613-624. doi: 10.15341/jbe(2155-7950)/04.06.2015/001

Lucca, D. O., Nadauld, T., & Shen, K. (2018). Credit supply and the rise in college tuition: evidence from the expansion in federal student aid programs. The Review of Financial Studies. doi: 10.1093/rfs/hhy069

Renehan, S. (2015). Rising tuition in higher education: Should we be Concerned? Visions for the Liberal Arts, 1(1).

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