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The Cost and Future of Higher Education

Higher Costs 

Over the years, the cost of higher education has been increasing and is a luxury many can no longer afford.

Budget cuts and limited financial aid puts college costs more on families instead of state.

The amount that government contributed to the cost of education decreased by about $100, but the amount students contributed increased by about $1,50 0 (adjusted for inflation).

Tuitions and fees increase but incomes do not.

What does this mean for the future college students and graduates?

History  Higher

education was once reserved for men of the clergy. It is now an essential career source.

 It

once consisted of just a traditional liberal arts curriculum.

 As

it opened to the public, so did the door to the sciences and vocational training. This created a large educational workforce

 Since

the opening of Harvard, college attendance has steadily increased.

History 

As attendance increased, new universities were established.

Affordability was still a problem. College was usually reserved for white male.

The G.I. Bill paid for the college education and expenses of 8 million returning GIs. This included tuition, books, and even gave GIs a sum for food and housing.

Middle-class and lower-class were now represented in college population. Without worry of cost, number of students nearly doubled.

Current State ď‚›

As of today, it is estimated that the cost of higher education has increased by 1,120% over 35 years.


The average tuition at a 4-year public institution has increased 15% between 2008 and 2010.

Current State 

As tuitions rise, so does the national student loan debt. It has recently hit $1 trillion.

College attendance is currently being funded by the debt of the middle class. Taking out loans and attending college is more difficult for the lower-class

“Measuring up 2008” compared college costs against average family income  Net cost of a four-year public university accounted for 28% of the average family income. A four-year private university accounted for 76% of the average family income. 

For those with income within the lowest 20%, the cost of a public university was 55% of the average income

Community college accounted for 49% of the poorest families’ income

Future  According

to the biennial report from the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, college tuition and fees has increased 439%.

 Average

Family income has only increased 147%.

 Student

loans have more than doubled in the last ten years, to a record $20,835.

 According

to a report by the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, if we were to project to 2036 tuition would increase from 11% of the family budget to 24% of the family budget.

Future  Students

are currently looking at $20 thousand a year for a public institution, and $40 thousand a year for a private institution.

 As

costs continue to increase, the amount of attendees and graduates will decrease, along with the quality of education.

 The

more budget cuts made to higher education, the more the education received is diminished.

 Already

courses have been cut, part-time faculty on the rise, and student support services eliminated.

Future The graph to the right depicts the projected cost of college in 20292030 school year

The graph to the left depicts the rate of inflation of college education through 2011

Future  Higher

education is projected to grow throughout this decade due to the class of 2009 – the largest high school graduation class in the nation’s history.

 Universities

would have difficulty accommodating so many students. This, along with the recession, will lead to an increase in tuition and fees.

 Surveys

reveal this class of students have high college aspirations – despite being among the poorest.

 California

has already increased costs and prices, reduced productivity and cut access to higher education by 50,000 students.

Conclusion  Higher

education is not considered as high a priority as it once was.

 The

future of higher education will remain questionable as long as we continue to treat it as a luxury rather than a necessity.

 We

currently live in a knowledge-based economy. Without a college education, it will be difficult for these students to find any employment sufficient enough to support a middle class family.

 If

students intend to maintain a middle-class lifestyle, they cannot do so with anything less than a college education

Conclusion  To

neglect funding of what is an essential tool for careers to day puts the nation in jeopardy.

 Keeping

higher education affordable and maintaining a steadily increasing number of college graduates is what aids the U.S in maintaining a competitive status in the global economy.

 If

higher education is no longer affordable, we lose college graduates, and in turn lose our status.

 If

the United States intends to keep its place in the global economy, then it must do more in order to generate more college graduates.

Conclusion ď‚›

For states to cut funding to higher education, raise tuitions and fees, and expect parents to contribute an even higher percentage of their income is not the answer.

ď‚› The

income of the middle class does not rise with inflation and does not increase with the rise of tuition, and the percentage contributed by parents is high enough as it is, even with the aid of financial aid.

ď‚› Higher

education has to be treated as the priority that it is before it is lost to all.

Sources  Jamrisko,

Michelle. "Cost of College Degree in U.S. Soars 12 Fold: Chart of the Day."Bloomberg. N.p., 15 Aug. 2012. Web. 10 Mar. 2013.

 Kaufman,

Claire. "The History of Higher Education in the United States." History of U.S. Higher Education. World Wide Learn, n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2013.

 Lewin,

Tamar. "Higher Education May Soon Be Unaffordable for Most Americans, Report Says." The New York Times. The New York Times, 03 Dec. 2008. Web. 10 Mar. 2013.

Higher Education Power Point  

Accompanies Cost of higher education report