Cause and Effect Essay Example
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The Cost of College Tuition in the United States
While some could write dissertations and even entire books on the cause and effects of the ever-increasing cost of college tuition in the United States, this essay will focus on just a few.
Comparing the average “sticker price” of college tuition in 2016-2017 - ($24,610 for in-state students at a four-year public college; $49,320 for private non-profit four-year college, according to the article on topuniversities.com on December 21, 2016, How Much Does it Cost to Study in the US?) - to the price of tuition in 2011-2012 – ($8,240 for public institutions; $28,500 for private ones, according to an article published on npr.org on May 5, 2012, The Price Of College Tuition), the difference is astonishing – even frightening.
And while some factors can defend this increase, there are just as many other factors attributing the increase to something along the lines of corporate greed and to the mucky hands of an over-reaching government. Of course, these numbers do represent the “sticker price” for college tuition, which means students don’t necessarily pay all of that number; however, they do still pay a substantial portion of that price. Also, yes, some students are in fact awarded financial aid, scholarships, and need-based grants (because they have the grades to attend an institution but could never afford it), though a majority of students pay all or close to the sticker price.
So why has the price of education skyrocketed in the last couple decades (result)? The answer, of course, is debatable, but there can be speculations. One is the increase in the cost of living – gas prices are higher than ever, the American government owes trillions of dollars to China, so we are seeing an increase in taxes on its citizens, which affects industries as well as academic institutions. This means any collegiate institution, whether private or public, pays their employees more and more each year in order to keep them, or else they risk losing them (cause 1).
Also, it is appropriate to take into account the price it takes a college or university to create, fund and sustain the kind of technology needed in the 21st century. To prepare students for a working world that is highly dependent on technology – the Internet, digital and social media, email, and other forms of technology – an institution must provide its students with the latest innovations in technology, with up-to-date computers and a robust wireless network – none of which is at all cheap to have and maintain. To that institution, it is worth having because, without this technology, a student is likely to attend another institution where this technology is readily available and more valued. But, not only is web-based learning an attraction to the student, it is also a necessity to educate students on how to succeed in the world today. So to compensate for this expense, colleges probably find it necessary to increase tuition (cause 2).
Lastly, to illustrate an opposition to the increase in the price of American college tuition, it can be said that a large portion of this increase is due to nothing more than corporate greed (cause 2). Does a college or university president truly need a salary of over $1 million? Not at all. An article posted on huffintonpost.com, The 10 Highest Paid Private College Presidents: Chronicle Of Higher Education List, on Dec. 5, 2011, lists 10 college presidents all making well over $1 million. No college president should ever be treated like the CEO of a Fortune 500 organization, especially one that is designed to educate its students to become successful, intelligent and highly educated citizens. As students are forced to pay more and more for a college degree, those at the top (the presidents of the college or university, for example) are accumulating substantial sums of money to do exactly what they did 20, 30 years ago. A college president is doing nothing to deserve a salary of this kind. But the price of tuition still perpetually increases.
Looking at the effects of the increase in American college tuition, there are several disadvantages. Students realize the need for a college degree in American society, so they will do whatever possible to fund their education. This, of course, means that most students will graduate with some kind of debt: vast amounts of money they will owe that has accumulated through student loans; this means that in a struggling economy with fewer jobs than ever, they are cast out into the world penniless and owing quite a bit money, and they could be in debt for much of their adult lives. This is a disadvantage for those who find sub-par, underpaying jobs, which is much of the case today. This only hurts the economy, the banks lending students the money for their education and ultimately the government who is dependent on the banks; when students default on their loans, it ultimately hurts everyone – and only the wealthy win (consequence 1).
Also, some students will abandon the notion of attending college since they can’t afford it, or they will attend colleges in foreign countries that offer more affordable education. The ones without a college education, it has been proven, will generally make less money in their lifetime, which hurts the economy and that person’s overall quality of life; and the ones attending schools in other countries are giving their money to those countries when they could be staying home and investing their money in America businesses; this in turn is and will be detrimental to the American economy (consequence 2).
In conclusion, the cost of a college education in America is perpetually increasing. Some factors do defend the increase as a normal, understandable reality; but others illustrate it having a negative effect on American citizens and the American economy. So who is this increase in tuition really helping? It surely isn’t the young people of America.