Why Have College Costs Become So Expensive

Over the past five years the cost of college has risen to alarming rates, especially in Arizona, Georgia, and Washington. For instance, those in Arizona have seen a 77 percent increase in costs, Georgia college costs have risen by 75 percent, and Washington’s costs have gone up by 70 percent, but why has the cost of college gone up so much in recent years? According to Sandy Baum, “It’s not that colleges are spending more money to educate students. It’s that they have to get that money from someplace to replace their lost state funding — and that’s from tuition and fees from students and families.”


Some colleges and universities have done their best to keep costs down for students, while other schools chose to take advantage of the situation by going along with the assumption that some people have regarding education costs. That assumption being that a quality college education is supposed to cost more. Meaning that students and their parents get stuck paying Yale and Harvard prices for a local university education. Baum states, “There’s certainly evidence that people don’t know how to measure the quality of a college education. They think that if it’s expensive it must be better. I don’t think colleges want to have high prices, but I do think they see strategic reasons why it may be in their interest to have high prices.”


If this is the case, we have to ask why states have been losing the funding they once relied on that helped to keep costs lower for their students. Between 1965 and 1972, colleges did their best to provide grants and other forms of financial aid for students to go along with new federal programs. These federal program created by the government were designed to help families pay for college amid people’s desire to achieve a higher level of education. For this purpose, the government created the National Defense Student Loan program, which later became known as the Federal Perkins Loan program. After these loan programs were introduced, students began flocking to colleges and universities with the expectation that the government would cover part of the costs. During this time, higher education did become affordable for more Americans than ever before, but things didn’t stay that way for long.


Around 1970 things began to fall apart. The economy began to falter and inflation was rampant, causing tuition to rise as well, sometimes in excess of the current inflation rates. Heavily subsidized private college loans steadily began to replace federal grants as the main source of tuition coverage for poor and middle-class college students. As income began to fall, more families began to take out loans to cover college costs, and public and state investment in higher education started to fall. Urban Institute states that this drop has been the single biggest reason for the increase in college costs.


Over time, families have slowly begun to find less expensive higher education alternatives, such as local community colleges and online universities. College costs may never return to what they once were, so using these education alternatives may be the only economically viable option for students that are determined to receive a college education.


About the Author:


Blair Thomas is the co-founder of eMerchantBroker.com the #1 electronic cigarette merchant account company in the US. He has been in the electronic payments industry for over 10+ years.  When he is not running his business he spends his time writing and producing music, which has been featured in a variety of films.


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