Posts Tagged ‘Rising College Cost’

College is unaffordable because it is necessary

August 5, 2015


When I was a college student, it was possible for a middle class family to save up enough money to pay college tuition, and it was possible to work your way through college without accumulating a burden of debt.

In that era, it also was possible for a hard-working high-school graduate to earn enough to support a family.

Now college is both unaffordable and necessary, or at least it is believed to be necessary in order to get a good job.  Education might be affordable if it wasn’t necessary, and college administrators were not in a position to charge what the traffic would bear.

As Kevin Drum of Mother Jones shows in the chart above, it does little good for the federal government to give aid to students if colleges merely raise tuition and fees accordingly.

This increased tuition and fees is not going to pay for better instruction.  More and more college teaching is being done by low-paid adjunct faculty.  Rather the revenues are going to pay administrator’s salaries and to pay for amenities intended to attract the children of the rich.

Education should be regarded as a public good, not as a article of commerce.  It should be regarded as a way to deepen knowledge and understanding, and not as a way to give certain Americans a credential that will give them a competitive advantage over other Americans.

State universities and community colleges should lower tuition so that higher education is as affordable as it once was.

And if there was a full-employment, high-wage economy, employers would hire people based on their ability to do the work rather than their credentials.  If college education was not a perceived necessity, it would be affordable.


As Federal Aid Goes Up, College Costs Rise Enough to Gobble It All Up by Kevin Drum for Mother Jones.

Best Sixteen Years of My Life on Gin and Tacos.

Another tax on the middle class

June 17, 2013
Click to enlage.

Double click to enlarge.

When I attended college sixty-some years ago, state universities provided free or affordable education to anyone who could do college work.  That is the function of a public university.  If the goal of a university is to maximize revenue by maximizing enrollment and/or tuition, it is no different from a private, for-profit educational institution and no reason why it should be subsidized by the taxpayers.

It is hard to escape the following conclusion:

If tuition has increased astronomically and the portion of money spent on instruction and student services has fallen, if the (at very least comparative) market value of a degree has dipped and most students can no longer afford to enjoy college as a period of intellectual adventure, then at least one more thing is clear: higher education, for-profit or not, has increasingly become a scam.

via n+1.

And if a college degree is a requirement to get a job with a middle-class income, then rising tuition for public higher education is as much a tax on the middle class as the residential property tax.