To understand the effect that many individuals undergo while seeking higher education in the contemporary society, it is imminent to look back in the history of higher education pricing. In 1974, the middle class earned approximately $13000 in a year. Also, a home would cost approximately $36000 and a new car cost approximately $4, 400. A private college would cost approximately $2000 a year, and a public university would cost around $510 a year (Davidson 1). Compared to the contemporary society the current dollar values would be as follows; the middle-class earnings would be around $62, 000, and owning a house would cost approximately $174, 000. Owning a new car would require an individual to depart with approximately $21000 and to attend a four-year course in the private university one would spend at least $10300. In contrast, the same four-year course in a public university would cost at least $2500 (Davidson 1). Fast forward to the contemporary society, marked with numerous changes; the median family earnings has slightly increased to around $64, 000. The home prices for the median family has also increased by at least two-thirds of their then value. The car prices have remained steady with the real overhaul coming in the costs of higher education. For instance, the current tuition fee has multiplied by a factor of 3 compared to those of 1974. Once a necessity, the higher education is remaining to be for the rich individuals only. The current rates of higher education are extremely high making higher education unaffordable especially for the median families. The rising cost of higher education may make higher education out of reach for the average American. The paper herein will focus on establishing the reasons behind increasing higher education costs.
The higher rising higher education cost is attributed to the fact that, the higher education is now a complex business venture. Its pricing is highly dependent on the economy. The products of higher education come out more like a multiplier effect rather than the being the end product itself. The employees with higher qualifications are more in demand than the other employees. Thus forcing the cost of higher education to increase as one climbs up the education ladder. The increased cost of higher education creates an increased demand in the acquisition of higher education. The results thus are the increased costs of acquiring the higher education. The on-demand employees are associated with better firms' productivity which in turn would lead to overall growth in the economy.
The rising number of young adults from the median family who do not graduate from college is a confirmation of the increased cost of higher education. The rise in the cost of the higher education more so in America has turned into a national issue prompting the government to act (Bowen, William, and Michael). Obama for instance while campaigning for office proposed to make community college affordable and available for every American. Hillary Clinton too promised to increase the federal funding for higher education should she be elected to the office. The chipping in by politicians is the confirmation that higher education, especially in America, had turned into a national issue and it needed immediate addressing.
As the years progressed by, there was increased competition between the Public and Private universities. The result was that the private universities lobbied for politicians to underfund the public institutions for them to gain an advantage over them (Elisson 1). The public universities would thus be compelled to increase their tuition fees to cover up for the deficit. Therefore, the tuition fee gap between the public and private university closed hence prompting an overall rise in the cost of higher education.
Increased risk in the availability of non-selective higher educational institutions was also a factor which contributed to increased costing in higher education. Such institutions offered the post-secondary education occupants a chance to achieve high-quality expertise which in turn offered them better skills and higher payments in the job markets (Rutherford et al., 186). Students did end up spending their higher education funds on such institutions and ended up not completing their higher education. The results are that they would continue accruing expenses regarding higher education loans and when they default it piled more pressure on the taxpayers (Dynarski).
The competitive nature of the higher education is also a contributing factor in increased costs of higher education. Most institutions which charge higher costs tend to offer a variety of courses for their customers the students. Students thus prefer such institutions and the other institutions which charge less are forced to increase their rates to meet the demand of their clients. The final factor is an increase in the pricing of higher education.
Even though the government would cheap in by increasing the federal funding especially for the public institutions, the intense competition in the field of higher education did not encourage the overall drop in cost in the higher education. Also, heightened economic factors contributed towards increased costing in the higher education sector. Factors such as increased housing rates and increased tax rates force the higher education to catch up by increasing the pricing. The results are increased higher education costing making it more unaffordable.
Bowen, William G., and Michael S. McPherson. Lesson plan: An agenda for change in American higher education. Vol. 90. Princeton University Press, 2016.
Davidson, Adam. "Is College Tuition Really Too High?" The New York Times, The New York Times, 8 Sept. 2015, www.nytimes.com/2015/09/13/magazine/is-college-tuition-too-high.html.
Dynarski, Susan M. "An economist's perspective on student loans in the United States." (2015).
Elisson, Keith. "The Argument for Tuition-Free College." The American Prospect, 14 Apr. 2016, prospect.org/article/argument-tuition-free-college.
Rutherford, Amanda, and Thomas Rabovsky. "Evaluating impacts of performance funding policies on student outcomes in higher education." The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 655.1 (2014): 185-208.
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