The current situation of tertiary schooling is drastically different from that of the old days, and it’s at the expense of low-income families. Getting a degree has become so pricey that there’s already a “definite” line separating the poorest and richest students in America, at least according to a recent report tackling college costs and degree attainment.
This gap between privileged and underprivileged students has doubled during the last four decades, with the percentage of students from the lowest-income families—those who make $34,160 a year or less—increasing a minuscule 3 points since 1970. In comparison, college completion for students from more privileged families has shown a mammoth increase from 44 to 77 percent.
Laura Phillips, who’s currently sending her son to Oakland University, isn’t used to this situation. When Phillips graduated back in 1991, paying for school was manageable enough that she was able to graduate in 3 ½ years with 0 debt. 24 years later, her son’s tuition seems twice as much as what she paid back in the day.
Phillip’s situation isn’t surprising. The average fees at U.S. universities for 2014-2015 range from $11,052 per year at public two-year colleges to as much as $42,419 at private four-year colleges. All costs include tuition and other fees (i.e. miscellaneous), as well as room and board. By stark contrast, the average cost of schooling at a public university was a meager $1,207 back in 1970.
According to Professor Daniel Lin of Liberty.org, tuition prices have risen so quickly due to supply and demand. A college education is held in higher regard than ever, so the only resort for universities is to increase either enrollment or tuition fees—the latter a common fallback for schools who can only admit a limited number of students. Another explanation, this time by Professor Robert Reich from the University of California—Berkeley, airs more on the management side. In an interview with U.S. News & World Report, Reich contends that schools are focusing too much on amenities and that school bureaucracies have become too large.
While tertiary schooling in America looks grim, however, there is still hope in terms of financial aid. Local and university scholarships, as well as campus employment, peer-to-peer lending, and even crowdfunding have been hailed as potent sources for financial aid. Aside from these, there’s also the option of obtaining free money for college through federal Pell Grants, made easy through the help of firms like The Studemont Group College Funding Solutions and its advisors such as John McDonough.
A college education nowadays may be expensive, but that doesn’t mean it’s exclusive. With various methods of acquiring free college money, it’s still possible for students to get their dream degrees in the end.
(Source: Earning A Bachelor’s Degree Is A Growing Divide Between Richest, Poorest U.S. Students, Study Says, US News, February 3, 2015)