11 February 2013
The Expense of Education
In our society today, the students’ biggest concern has turned into not “am I going to make the grades”, but to “am I going to be able to afford college”. Now not every student has to face this concern but a great majority of today’s students do. Tuition is increasing at a rate that dramatically outpaces median family income. Student-loan debt is chasing ever-rising tuition like a dog chasing it’s tail. Education is something that is needed in everyone’s life if they want to be successful when they get older. Putting a large price tag on education isn’t going to make college any more appealing to those who cannot afford it. Thankfully, students can receive loans or grants that will help them afford their schooling, but then once they graduate their next concern is being able to pay off those loans. One can see how stressful this could be and how detrimental it may be on a student. Stress can only lead to poor grades and lack of confidence.
There is a reason universities and colleges are so expensive, they need to pay the faculty and staff first off. Then come the expenses of electricity, construction, furnishing, supplying books, and cleaning classrooms and all other facilities. Teachers are paid for their output in three areas: teaching, research, and service. In an article I read, it explains why college needs to be expensive. The main reason as to why it should be expensive is the technology that we use in college now a day. However, technology doesn’t reduce manufacturing labor, it actually makes it actually increases by a lot. This is why college expenses have soared compared to buying a car or a basic bag of groceries. The second reason is the fact that it is expensive to hire a highly educated labor force. It says, “Starting in the late 1970s, the cost of hiring highly educated people began a sustained rise. This has driven up costs in any industry that cannot easily shed expensive labor.” (Archibald, and Feldman 2010). Lastly, the technological change affects higher education directly. New technology in a higher education changes what we do and how we do it. Not like steel or auto industries where the goal is to reduce the amount of labor or energy it takes to make the product. Colleges and universities need to offer an education that provides their students with the tools they need to succeed in the world today. “The contemporary chemistry student, for instance, needs to be familiar with current laboratory tools, and they are more expensive than the chalk-and-test-tube world of the past. As in modern medicine, there is a standard of care that higher education must meet, and that standard is set in the labor market that hires our graduates.” (Archibald, and Feldman 2010). In the end of this article, they state that the main problem isn’t the cost, but the financial aid system.
While that article thinks that a higher education is necessary and states the reasons why, this article about why kids shouldn’t go to Harvard explains how expensive prestigious colleges like Harvard, isn’t the education you want. The author believes that the middle class would be making a better decision to select a school based on location and price. It states, “Paradoxically, the quality of instruction at brand-name colleges is likely to be worse than at no-name institutions. Many professors interested in undergraduate teaching avoid places like Harvard or Stanford because teaching is all but ignored in hiring and promotion.” (Nemko). The size of the classrooms at schools like Harvard are unconscionable where a freshman or sophomore student is spending most of their time in an auditorium full of students. It concerns the author that these types of schools will charge $150,000 for four years to educate their students with the cheapest, least effective method of instructing: the large lecture class. There are many low-cost colleges that have options