Rising College Costs Essay

Submitted By hmg109
Words: 997
Pages: 4

Social Problems: Rising College Costs

American Public University System

The sociological approach towards social problems differs from other approaches in that it gives us an awareness that structural or social forces affect our personal experiences. Sociologists believe that problems and solutions involve social structures in our society and not just individuals. Functionalists focus on how society creates and maintains social order with a macro approach. The conflict perspective is that power and coercion holds a society together. Feminists approach society with the idea that gender is the main source for social inequality, conflict, and problems. The interactionist argues that language, speech, and symbols create and maintain the world’s social structure. Our social reality is created by our interactions with others and through this interaction problems are created and defined. Social problems can exist regardless of whether or not everybody personally experiences the condition. They also exist even if you choose not to acknowledge that there is a problem. Powerful people like politicians, religious leaders, and media broadcasters can influence societal views and opinions on social problems. Things that would threaten social institutions or our physical world are universally viewed as problematic. Some issues are viewed as more significant than others because of where they are occurring and if you are directly affected. The idea that issues become real once they are subjectively defined or viewed as problematic is known as social constructionism (Leon-Guerrero, 2014, p. 9). There is a subjective process in identifying social problems (Leon-Guerrero, 2014, p. 20). They don’t occur instantly. The transformation process is the first step which publicizes a formerly private issue. The legitimization process formalizes how complaints about the problem are handled. The next step is the conflict stage which occurs when stage two is incapable of handling the problem. Activists, advocates, and victims believe that they are unable to work within already established organizations and have feelings of distrust towards them and create new establishments. Personally, I feel as if the cost of a college education is a social problem. I joined the Air Force not just because I wanted to help people and travel the world but mainly because I couldn’t see myself paying what it costs to get a higher education and the military would provide me this at no cost. In this day of age, receiving an education is typically the only way somebody can achieve success or the “American Dream”. According to Odland, (2012) a graduate from a four year university earns on average $55,000 per year while post graduate degrees, masters, and PhD graduates earn around $65,000. The amount of education one receives directly connects with an individuals wealth over time just as unemployment rates directly relate to the level of education with higher rates of unemployment for those with the lowest amount of education (Odland, 2012). These facts correlate with high school degrees but because public schools are free my focus is college. The price for everything has increased overtime but inflation has covered these expenses. University costs are rising at levels that inflation cannot pair with. Gordon Wadsworth had stated that in 1986 if a school was to cost $10,000 then today it should cost $21,500, taking inflation into consideration. However, a school that cost $10,000 back in 1986 would today be $59,800 (Odland, 2012). Because of these ridiculous expenses, only 17% of the American population has an undergraduate degree on top of the costs for schools rising at roughly seven percent per year for decades which is making the “American Dream” for most a great struggle (Odland, 2012). The numbers collected through data provide the objective reality that college expenses are a social