Why is Education so Expensive?

When I was going to college, everything cost what felt like an arm and a leg. Textbooks were one of the larger burdons students didn’t always see coming as the semester grew closer. In some cases, these books made up a larger amount of your initial investment than housing (for the first month of the semester). Things haven’t really changed since then, except that tuition fees, books, and housing all come with a higher price tag.

According to College Board, books can make up over $1,000 of your yearly college investment. Tuition at two-year public schools clock in at around $2,400 per year with private four-year institutions charging tuition and fees scaling up to over $25,000 in one year alone. This means that if you don’t have an impressive scholarship or some other form of serious financial backing, you’re likely to get stuck with an oppressive amount of debt from student loans.

If you decide to take on student loans, you’re likely going to have to pay them off over the course of your career. Some students opt to join military or volunteer organizations that promise to assist with paying off student loans in exchange for service. If you decide to dive in to your career of choice, you may find the financial advantage of the diploma won’t come in handy until years down the line when you’ve eliminated the debt caused by getting the degree in the first place.

Education is an absolute must for any society to further itself technologically or academically. For too many students the focus of the best years of their lives is spent wondering how they’re going to pay for their education, and not how they’re going to benefit from it in the long-term. As much of an importance as we place on education as a society, we seem to do little to prevent it from being out of reach for so many of our young citizens.

We have the technology, and many schools are beginning to offer online courses that reduce the overhead of the campus and allow good professors the ability to teach important lessons to a larger audience in a way we never could when I attended, or anyone from generations prior. Instead of reducing the costs for their students as a result, universities seem to be pressing even harder and asking for more from a student body that rarely has anything left to give.

Here is some response to this post by the community on Google+:

Craig Clawson – My brother had to purchase a virology textbook that cost $978 dollars. that is just greed, pure and simple.

Erin Fox – It’s expensive because it’s meant to be exclusive. As my Philosophy professor said, “We can’t educate everybody. Who would clean toilets?”

Shane Corning – I began at a University after High School. Scholarship, the whole nine. Guess what? They didn’t have any practical classes, and some of the Profs were barely qualified to teach a H.S. class. So I went to Community College and actually learned skills I could use in jobs.