The Climbing Cost of College


Juliette Fournier

The cost of college has significantly increased in the past few years, placing a burden on many students.

Juliette Fournier, Editor

High school students, especially upperclassmen, have started doing college research to plan their next steps after high school. Looking through all the amazing programs offered, exploring the campus, and researching all that a university can provide, one probably finds a university that seems like the perfect fit. But then they find the cost of attendance and room & board, and that option is thrown out the window. Mary Liu (12) comments that in her search for the ideal college, “it’s hard not to consider money as a factor… For [her] the cost of college tuition, especially for private colleges, is just crazy. It limits accessibility for some and makes it harder for others to pay for college without loans and help from parents.” College education has steadily risen in America, even with the inflation accounted for. Why is that? Has the quality of the education become better, or is something else at play?

In reality, the quality of education isn’t what is causing the high prices. One of the main factors that has actually caused such costs is the increase in administration working at the college. Administration doesn’t just include teachers and professors; it also includes the staff with non-teaching jobs. In fact, teachers and professors haven’t had a significant enough increase in salary to account for college costs. Non-teaching jobs, jobs usually attached to student services on campus, are the main cause for increased cost. Everything from career counselors, health services, and academic support are provided for students; these services are no doubt beneficial to students but do come at a cost.

Additionally, cost has increased due to the lack of funding by the government to public schools. Colleges need money to function, so money they are not receiving from the government is shifted over to the students who want to attend the university. The amount of students that attend a university has also significantly increased, so the government has paid less and less money per student.

Furthermore, colleges are essentially run like a business, trying to maximize profits. Due to the increased demand for higher education in the past decades, the price has also risen. If people are willing to pay more for a college education, universities can charge more without consequence. The US government has not put any restrictions on how much the universities can cost, so universities are able to pick the price without any set restrictions. Some European countries such as England do have restrictions on cost, meaning it is cheaper to attend in some cases.

Universities build a win-win situation for themselves when accepting international students or students from other states. Not only are they able to diversify their campus, public schools are able to get more money from them due to out-of-state tuition. At the same time, it could become challenging to attract international students if tuition in their country is free or significantly cheaper.

These high costs put a huge burden on students, especially those from poor families or don’t receive financial aid. Student debt in America is approximately $1.5 trillion according to Forbes, with the average student owing about $37,000 in debt. Do students really deserve to be in so much debt before even starting their lives? Is there another solution that could decrease the debt?

Sources:The Atlantic, Business Insider, NowThisNews