At many colleges, the cost of a year's tuition is equivalent to a brand new Mercedes. This leaves some people who are seeking higher education out in the cold.
Even those who qualify for grants or scholarships have to borrow heavily to come up with the balance. And according to a recent survey conducted by Public Agenda and the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, eight out of ten people agree that students are forced to borrow way too much to cover the gap.
But what can be done? Colleges and Universities seem to have the upper hand when deciding how much education is worth, and of course, have no incentive to lower the costs. After all, education is a business.
There is a problem with this 'business', however, as many students and families are getting gouged. Tuition increases far outpace wage increases and are well above inflation levels. Example: if the cost of milk went up as fast as the cost of college, a gallon would set you back approximately $16.
As a result, approximately two-thirds of all four-year undergraduate students are graduating with a large amount of debt (over $20,000 per student). Graduate students accumulate even more debt by the time school has finished. It is not unusual for a student to owe somewhere between $50,000 and $100,000 upon graduation.
Students often do not have a great deal of experience borrowing so they may choose the wrong financing option and will not learn until much later that they might have gotten a better deal elsewhere.
The recent student loan scandals--in which 921 universities were implicated by the Department of Education--have also shaken public confidence in the American education system, leaving many students wondering whether or not they stand a chance of getting a good deal if they are forced to borrow.
The current disenchantment is great, but is it enough to elicit the grassroots effort needed to make policymakers stand up and do something about it?
Pat Callan, President of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, says lawmakers and educational thinkers are just starting to take notice of tuition increases and the other costs of higher education, which are well above inflation levels.
In other words, if we keep pushing, perhaps something can be done about the fleecing of America's college students.
Student Borrowing Statistics
|Institution Level||% Students Borrowing||Average Debt|