College Tuition is Too D*mn High by Ayman Shehadeh
Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, MIT- there are many things these universities have in common aside from their prestige. Each of these universities, along with many other privates, has a tuition price that exceeds 40,000 dollars a year! If you include room and board, that means some of you may be spending around 60,000 dollars a year just to go to school. That’s around 15,000 dollars more than what the average salary is in the United States! So, for some of you headed off to a fancy university, you could be spending well above what you are making!
Now, I am not saying that post-high school education is not worth it, because it definitely is. The importance of education on the life of an individual is unbelievable. People who do not graduate from high school make around 24,000 dollars on average; that’s significantly lower than the overall average salary for Americans. In addition, about 70% of America’s prison population consists of individuals who did not graduate from high school. Statistics show that if someone were to go to college for just two years, on average he or she would end up making about forty-five thousand dollars a year- the typical salary of all Americans. People who complete four years of college and obtain a bachelor’s degree end up earning around 55,000 dollars a year, and those who achieve a PhD may find themselves receiving an annual salary of 65,000 dollars or more. So statistically speaking, education is undeniably worth investment.
An education in the United States can be the difference between living in poverty and living in luxury, so it is no surprise that most people want to earn a degree of some sort. These benefits can extend even further if you go to a prestigious school like those listed above. This high demand poses a problem because in America we have a supply and demand economy, and let’s face it- college is a business. With the benefits from receiving a higher education being irrefutable, more and more people want to go to college. The rise in demand is out of control, and the only solution is to either increase the supply or lower the demand to reach an equilibrium. Increasing the supply would be as simple as allowing more students to be accepted into a university. However, higher acceptance rates and student-to-faculty ratios would mean lowered prestige, lowered demand, and ultimately lowered profits. So instead of giving a greater opportunity to our population, universities simply tend to raise the price for their tuition- just like any good business would.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a socialist. In fact, it is some of these social programs we have in the United States that have ultimately contributed to the higher tuition. Since the government tries to subsidize fees, more and more people believe they can go to a university- raising the demand even further. Plus, since the government is basically handing out money, universities believe their students can afford more. And since they have absolutely no problem filling seats, any negative consequences on the universities’ end are essentially nullified.
Even with these subsidies and similar measures (such as scholarships and grants) that are intended to make college more affordable, it is still nearly impossible for the majority of the American population to afford such a hefty price tag. A 100,000 dollar scholarship sounds phenomenal. In fact, that’s more than double the average salary. Yet, it is still not enough to cover even tuition at one of these schools for four full years, let alone room and board and other expenses.
There are a few alternatives, however, including enrolling in community colleges and state public schools, which are great at cutting costs. Plus, with many excellent transfer programs you can get to a prestigious school and graduate with the fancy diploma you have always wanted for a fraction of the price. However, it is ridiculous how some of the students at our school have to work so hard to achieve near perfect GPAs and SAT scores only to be turned down not by the school, but by the price tag itself, potentially forcing them to receive a second rate education. Which leads me to say, in the immortal words of Jimmy McMillan, that the college tuition is too d*mn high.