Comparison of inflation of college tuition and fees, medical costs, and cost of living from 1978 to 2008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Higher education in the United States has always awestruck the rest of the world! People from all over the world dream of coming to the US to attain their college education at some of the finest institutions. The world’s greatest universities such as Harvard, Stanford, MIT and numerous others in the US educate some of the world’s most brilliant professionals and world leaders.
And yet, since the beginning, the US higher education system has had numerous deficiencies. And with the current state of the economy, the need for a college degree today has become all the more urgent. A high school diploma has become quite inadequate in this day-and-age to ensure even a low paying job.
On the flip side, there are not enough young adults making it out of college either. There are simply too few skilled workers around to meet the demands of the job market, even in these troubling times when jobs are supposedly in short supply.
· Rising cost of higher education
In a recent article on Huffington Post, Jamie Merisotis of Lumina Foundation writes that college tuition has been continuously outpacing inflation for the last three decades!! Most people take huge student loans and find it almost impossible to re-pay the loans which also carry huge interest rates, penalties and so on.
On top of all this, there are so many economically-unfortunate youngsters that get left behind and never even get to college.
· Rigidity in the education system
Image via CrunchBase
Despite the relative flexibility of the US education system in comparison to other countries, there is still not enough opportunity or freedom for young adults to pursue their true interests and passion. Why else is it that some of the most prominent business leaders such as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerburg dropped out of college early on to build their enterprises?
· Lesser focus on attaining knowledge
Getting into a good college is all about A grades in high school, superb SAT scores and so many more admission requirements. It is very little about figuring out if the college is actually right for that individual and if it will meet the intellectual aspirations of the student. Upon starting college, the rigmarole starts all over again, more tests and more deadlines. But unlike high school, now there is this added element of being able to pay the exorbitant tuition fees, more emphasis on sports arenas and student parties.
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for having fun and parties, but the extent to which it is glorified and the pressure to conform to these stereotypes simply makes a mockery of the education system.
· Inability to tailor college degrees to the needs of the job market
As per government statistical data, the largest population of college students study for either business or liberal arts degrees and some study to become teachers. In comparison, the number of students studying technology or engineering is almost negligible. Many who later on are lucky enough to develop their technology careers continue to hold degrees in totally unrelated fields such as psychology or history.
With many of these degrees, there is very little correlation between what the job market requires and what the individual actually spends years & tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars studying. Shouldn’t there be more governmental support for pursuing a degree in a field where there is actually market demand? Shouldn’t young adults receive better assistance in figuring out whether the degree is good enough for starting on a marketable career path?
Higher education -- Remember young man, your first step in the REAL WORLD is just 8 feet ahead. Best of luck !!! ...item 2..Men and women both have different ways to get from A to B (2 May 2012) .. (Photo credit: marsmet471)
Providing more student loans will not resolve this crisis! Something very fundamental needs to change in the current education system, right from college curriculums, governmental policies, regulations on fee increases and the frivolous construction of sports stadiums, or the ever-rising new college buildings for that matter!
Having more online colleges will not fix this issue. Yes, online education removes some of the traditional barriers of time, cost and accessibility, but nevertheless, the cost of online degrees today are not far behind that of their brick-and-mortar counterparts. Even the most affordable online colleges that award college degrees have inflated fees and costs, despite the fact that there is so much free education and courses available online.
Or perhaps the solution to these complex issues will rise from the innovative minds of our entrepreneurial community which has time and again delivered solutions to our most critical issues.
College costs are skyrocketing over the years. As per wikipedia, a 4yr bachelor’s degree at a private university such as Harvard costs $105,082 as of 2009, excluding room and board. The tuition cost of a 4yr bachelor’s degree at a public university is $28,080. The figures are upwards of $150,000 and $30,000 respectively for 2011. There are simply no cheap colleges out there, quite the contrary!
English: Study of rising college costs due to cost shifting from state funding to tuition. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
For many families, college costs are overburdening and quite unaffordable. The burden is equally high on both parents and students. Despite the income-based financial aid programs, most students and families are simply unable to cope with the huge tuition increases. Also, there are numerous discrepancies and inequalities created by the one-size-fits-many type of aid programs. Infact this history of financial aid programs has created the perfect system of incentives for universities to raise tuitions and other costs, whereby the financial aid feeds the college's vault , instead of assisting the student with completing their higher education.
Irrespective of their income level, a majority of families undergo a lot of hardships to get their children through college. Parents save money for years and years by sacrificing their own lifestyles and life savings. Many parents and students take up huge student loans to pay for college, and students end up having to repay a lot of these college costs after graduation.
While college costs continue to grow ridiculously, the standard of education continues to fall. A 2012 book by the Dean and Professor of English Richard Schwartz talks about how colleges routinely spend on expenditure which do not directly improve the quality of the student's education. Many who score poorly in high school or standardized tests are guaranteed entry due to the growing relaxation in admission standards. Its no wonder that many of such students are unsuccessful in completing college. This is despite the fact that many colleges routinely inflate student grades!! And ofcourse students still have to repay the student loans even when they are unable to complete college!
English: University of California, Berkeley students protest a 30% hike in tuition fees. They formed a circle of about 12 people at the north campus entrance on Herst Ave. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Tuition increases have significantly outpaced inflation and tuition costs continue to rise even though the quality of higher education has not improved. One of the reasons for this rampant increase in tuition is that the government education subsidies are paid to the universities instead of being paid directly to the students. Textbooks are also quite expensive, and the requirement to use specific editions of specific textbooks creates a system where students have to spend more on new textbooks, rather than purchasing second-hand textbooks that are available for a lower cost. Added to this, the lack of planning on the part of our young students means that they purchase books at inflated prices at the college bookstore, rather than buying books ahead of schedule at a low-cost bookstore such as Amazon!
There are numerous debates among people as to why college is so very expensive. Many blame the expenses on the bloated college administration costs; others feel that professors’ salaries take up a lot of the student tuition charges. Many colleges are indeed run as large for-profit corporations and as long as the demand for college education exists, colleges will continue to charge huge tuition fees.
So what is the way out of all this mess? Do people simply put up with the current situation and just get through it? Or does one need to totally give up on college? Well, there is a way out; it is possible to get an “affordable” college education. Quite easily, anyone who has completed high school successfully can get a college degree for atleast 60% less than the cost of a traditional public state college/ university. There are a bunch of colleges all across the US which offer the same reputable and accredited 4 yr college degrees for much less than most colleges that people know of today. There are thousands of students from all walks of life who have already completed such 4 yr college degrees at these cheap accredited online colleges, with ease and with no burden of any loans or forced savings. We want you to be one of those people that make it through a 4 yr college degree this way, the “frugal” way.
So we inform you on these cheap accredited online colleges, and other distance or flexible colleges, including namely Excelsior college, Empire State college, Charter Oak college and several others. But that's just the starting point! We at FrugalDegree.com proudly claim to provide you with a better college experience than most, with a great support system of information, college classes and tools that will move you towards completing a college degree that you truly enjoy!
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