Raising Tuition Rates Essay

1482 words - 6 pages

Tuition rates have been rising exponentially since “World War II and the GI Bill…” which allowed for, “…an explosive increase in the number and proportion of Americans who go to college” (Nathan 148). This change, though largely due to inflation, has been rising past what families can afford to pay, and has led to difficulties for students exiting high school. These difficulties have been seen by campuses, and many already have a plan to help these students pay for the rocketing tuition prices.
This escalating problem has been caused by multiple entities, individuals, and ideals. Firstly, between 1985 and 1995, the federal and state funding has decreased by almost twenty-five percent, and since then has decreased to account for only fifty percent of the public university’s budget, as more of the government’s money has been allotted to the needs of the country’s healthcare, welfare, and prisons. Also, universities have increased the percentage of their budgets allocated to administration roles, mostly in an attempt to influence government and to market their degree and certificate programs (Nathan 149). Furthermore, a study performed by, “William Bowen, now president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, attributed tuition rising faster than the rate of inflation primarily to the nature of the educational process, which did not permit academia to share in the productivity gains that caused earnings growth in the rest of society…” and to the “Winner Take All Society” that university administrators have succumbed to, as, “they aggressively seek out all possible resources and put them to use funding things they think will make them better. To look better than their competitors, the institutions wind up in an arms race of spending to improve facilities, faculty, students, research, and instructional technology” (Ehrenberg). This spending frenzy is helped by students wanting to go to the “best” university, as well as these university officials throwing money at problems to, “increase quality largely by spending more, not by increasing efficiency, reducing costs, or reallocating funds” (Ehrenberg). All of these entities together have worked to raise the price of tuition for their own reasons, be it greed, or budgeting to the most pressing needs.
Over the years tuition has become an increasingly worrisome problem for students and families, as it has begun to rise at a rate so far from that of the rate of inflation. “Between 1991-92 and 2001-2, tuition at public colleges rose by 21 percent and at private colleges by 26 percent, and this is after adjustment for inflation is figured in” (Nathan 150). These astonishing numbers average out to approximately two and one-third percent increases per year, but strangely enough they became even more baffling during the following ten years. “Over the decade from 2002-03 to 2012-13, when published tuition and fees at public four-year institutions rose at an average rate of 5.2% per year beyond inflation” ("Average...

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