Monday, January 7, 2013

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The increasing cost of college education in the US is commonly the top reason cited as a hindrance to teenagers who want to graduate with a degree. Fund sources like student loan are becoming not a good option in today’s rough economic climate apparently because the collected student debt has already reached over a trillion dollars. According to Student Loan Ranger, a lack of transparency may harm the borrowers especially those who experience difficulty comparing and contrasting colleges/universities to assess their value and the tendency to continue tuition hike. Greater transparency among these colleges can increase the competitive pressure between each other, making them focus on the outcomes of increasing college costs to students. Colleges basically try to either cut or freeze tuition fees in order to provide competitive prices to parents and students.

Between 2008 and 2010, the average college cost at a state university increased by 15 percent. This dramatic growth was driven by budget cuts made by the government for higher education. Hence, it also increased tuition fees by 40 percent in state universities found at Arizona, California and Georgia. The Penn State U is the holder of the highest in-state tuition fee for state universities at $15,250 in 2011. This tuition does not include expenses for board and lodging, room and other things that amounted to a total of $19,816, which is considered the fourth highest net price in the country of the same year. This only signals warning to students to become smart consumers and to the state government, this calls for making college education a top priority in their budgets. This holds true especially when the country needs more graduates at this very moment in order to remain competitive and strong in the global economy. However, unfortunately, the college costs keep on rising at a time when incomes are greatly affected by the economic crisis. So, it will not be a surprise if middle class families wouldn't be able to afford higher education. Most students who have studied in a state university spent about half a hundred thousand dollars for four years, while the loans reached up to $25,000. The bad news is most students do not realize the amount of debt they are responsible with until the time comes to pay for it. This goes to show that students don’t know the situation they are really getting into during college years.

On that basis, it is advisable for parents and students to remain updated about the latest College Affordability and Transparency list. These lists can be helpful when tracking fees and tuition of both public and private colleges. The transparency program is one of the Education Department’s initiatives to raise awareness among parents and students about the costs of higher education every year. For more affordable options, community colleges would be perfect. In fact, the average net price of a typical community college was $8,085 in 2010. Of course, keeping college costs affordable is everyone’s responsibility by doing one’s own part as a citizen of this country. 

The Author:

Nicole McGrey is a teacher at Edinburg High School for 5 years and currently taking PHd at University of Illinois. Her writing includes few notes about Eric Schiffer. Follow her on Twitter @NicoleMcGrey 

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