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Why Does College Cost So Much?

Essay by   •  April 12, 2012  •  Essay  •  1,159 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,528 Views

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Why Does College Cost So Much?

These days when many rising high school seniors are visiting college campuses trying to determine which schools interests them; their parents are busy figuring out what they will have to pay. Parents are more anxious and worried nowadays, because the cost for college is far more expensive than what it was thirty years ago. According to an article from College Board, the cost of attending a public university, even after subtracting out aid and grants, rose more than 15 percent in the last five years. Whether it's a private or public, comprehensive or selective college the cost of attendance has significantly risen.

Many colleges in America are selective institutions, meaning they only accept those students they believe to be fit for their institution both financially and intellectually. The goal of these selective universities and colleges is to be the best they can in every aspect of their activities and departments. Therefore they diligently seek out all the possible resources and put them to use funding things they think will make them more appealing. At the same time, student and families look for the best institutions they can. This is wise because attending the most competitive and efficient college will give them an edge when competing for a job position. So, one way these schools secure the resource is by making the cost of attendance very expensive.

Also, to be better than their competitors, these institutions spend a huge amount of money improving facilities, faculty, research, and teaching technologies. Moreover, higher institutions of learning compete on the basis academic achievement, which is attained through pricey professors and state of the art learning and research centers. In order to achieve this, colleges often increase the amount money needed to attend their institution.

Related to this is the significance of college has gotten higher, meaning a college graduate is more likely to earn more money than some one who is not a college graduate. According to an article published on LA Times, college graduates earn 84% more than high school graduates. So the economic worth of being a college graduate has gotten higher and it's only reasonable for colleges to charge more to achieve it. As a result of all this parents a frustrated and often find themselves in financial crises while trying to send the children to the right college.

The other factor for the rise in college cost comes from the way these institutions are structured. Like many large corporations, universities and colleges have a certain blueprint for budget planning. Ronald Ehrenberg of Cornell University lists four main categories of planning in his book Tuition Rising: Why College Cost so Much (pp. 30-31). These are Central, Tubs, Tubs with Franchise Fee and Activity driven, the former being the dominant one. Therefore the details of each planning greatly affect the actual cost of attending that specific college. For example, Mr. Ehrenberg says that the tubs model is not as effective in reducing cost when compared to the central model, therefore the failure to produce an efficient and comprehensive financial structure is one reason for the rise in college cost.

These are industries in which technological improvement has not reduced the number of labor hours needed to provide the necessary service. As a result, the amount of money needed to drive the labor force and maintain the necessary school environment has gone up. For instance, universities like Virginia Tech are spending more money on security following the school shooting in April of 2007.

The last major cause

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