Why the Cost of College Has Become Too Expensive- and Why This Needs to Change


Ava Mokrzecki

The value of a college education is an issue that has always been up for debate. In comparison to thirty years ago, the cost of college tuition has increased by nearly 37-50 percent. Why has this happened, and what are the consequences?

Over the past few decades, the cost of college tuition has increased as a result of inflation and an increase in the cost of living. Colleges are a business too, and schools need to make money and improvements. Not only do schools have to pay professors and various other expenses, they are also trying to make a profit.As a result, students are denied the opportunity to continue their education simply because college tuition has become extremely expensive and unaffordable. 

According to CNBC, “Today, it costs around $48,510 for a private college and $21,370 for a public college.” College tuition has risen faster than inflation- and prospective college students have to pay the price. With this cost, the average student would accumulate a huge amount of student loans over the span of four years.

When recent graduates are expected to pay back tens of thousands of dollars in student loans, it makes it extremely difficult to afford to buy a home, have children, and still save money. Thirty years ago, students could graduate college and have their loans paid off by the time they graduated, or graduate with minimal debt. However, in today’s world, that seems almost impossible without the help of financial assistance. 

One factor as to why the cost of college has become extremely expensive is colleges still have to pay for professors and various employees’ salaries, healthcare, and other expenses. 

According to CNBC, “Declining public funds have caused college tuition to skyrocket, leaving many families either with  insurmountable student loan debt or unable to afford a higher education altogether, according to a new analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.” 

Due to the cost of college and other various reasons, some people choose not to go to college at all. A question then arises, “Can someone get to the same place they thrive without the expense of a college degree?” In some cases, the answer is absolutely yes. In other careers, like a doctor or lawyer, for example, a college degree is necessary. 

Despite the fact that college tuition is extremely expensive, some argue that there is value since many college graduates end up making more money in their lifetime compared to those without a college degree. 

According to Brookings, “Today, a college graduate is almost 20 percentage points more likely to be employed than someone with only a high school diploma.” 

College graduates often have more opportunities afforded to them and have the experience and knowledge to take advantage of those opportunities. High school graduates may have more difficulty finding employment opportunities when being compared to an applicant with a college degree.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reports that Americans with a bachelor’s degree have median weekly earnings of $1,173, compared to just $712 a week for those who have a high school diploma. However, when starting a career or internship right after high school, young adults are able to start their careers with no student loan debt and can start making money right away. There are pros and cons to both options, and there are many factors that are influenced into making the decision. 

May experts advise that prospective college students earn a degree if they know exactly how it will help them after they graduate and that thousands of dollars will not go to waste with a useless degree. At the same time, the college experience is a unique opportunity to educate, network, and become independent. These accumulated skills help graduates for the rest of their lives. 

The college experience positively impacts so many students, and it is unfortunate that many are unable to afford this amazing experience. Economically and financially disadvantaged students are unable to go to the college of their choice or even any school at all simply because it is unaffordable. In addition, students who do attend college will likely graduate with a large amount of student loans. 

College tuition needs to be decreased to allow more students the opportunity to pursue higher education. If a student’s family has the financial resources or earned large amounts of scholarship money and college is something that the student wants, then it is advised to go without thinking twice. However, that is not the case for most students and their families. College tuition needs to decrease because it gives students the proper knowledge and experience to thrive in the real world.