Arthur C. Brooks presents his opinion on an idea gaining prevalence across the United States in his published article, “My Valuable, Cheap College Degree.” This new idea is a college degree which costs the student a total of $10,000, also known as the 10K-B.A. Inspired by a challenge to educators from Bill Gates, governors in the states of Texas, Florida, Wisconsin, and a state assemblyman in California have recently made efforts to make this idea a reality.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2011, the average tuition for just one year at a four-year private university was nearly $33,000. While the median inflation-adjusted household income fell by seven percent between 2006 and 2011, the average real tuition at public four-year colleges increased over that period by eighteen percent (1). To prove how rapidly the cost to attend college rose, researchers compared college tuition to the increasing cost of healthcare. Research showed that college tuition increased at twice the rate of healthcare costs over the past twenty-five years. While college tuition rapidly increased, average income fell, which left families in deeper debt with each upcoming year. High tuition costs make getting a college education unattainable for many low and middle income students. Luckily, thanks to an up-and-coming alternative to the typical college experience, there is now a chance for some of these students to pursue their dreams of higher education.
“The 10K-B.A. rethinks the costliest part of higher education – the traditional classroom teaching” (1); instead, there is a higher reliance on online and distance-learning alternatives to make the cost of higher education more affordable. Prior to publication of “My Valuable, Cheap College Degree,” a majority of the public was unaware that a $10,000 college degree was attainable. Throughout the article, Brooks provides a valid and logically persuasive argument as to why the 10K-B.A. is the most reasonable alternative making college tuition more affordable.
Brooks is no amateur when it comes the topic of the 10K-B.A. Brooks, who earned his own 10K-B.A. in 2004, is confident when saying, “it was the most important intellectual and career move I ever made.” To receive his 10K-B.A., Brooks attended classes by mail from the University of Washington, the University of Wyoming, and other schools with the lowest-priced correspondence courses that he discovered. His degree required the same number of credits and type of classes that any student at a traditional university would take. Breezing through exams was not an option for him. It was a requirement that Brooks was proctored at local libraries while taking exams, which were later graded by graduate students. As a former Syracuse University professor and current president of the American Enterprise Institute, Brooks is extremely thankful for his opportunity to experience this new alternative to the typical college experience, which...