College is getting more expensive due to factors such as inflation, reduced government funding, and increased demand for higher education.
And now, in greater depth
College tuition is on the rise, with the cost of attending a four-year institution increasing by an average of 28% over the past decade. This trend is attributed to several factors, including inflation and reduced government funding for higher education.
Inflation is one of the primary drivers of rising college tuition costs. As the cost of living continues to increase, so do the expenses associated with operating a college or university, such as faculty salaries, utilities, and building maintenance. This, in turn, leads to higher tuition fees for students.
Additionally, government funding for higher education has decreased in recent years. According to the College Board, state funding for higher education has decreased by 16% per student over the past decade. This has forced colleges and universities to rely more heavily on tuition fees to finance their operations.
Finally, there is an increased demand for higher education in today’s job market. With a growing emphasis on specialized skills and advanced degrees, more people are pursuing post-secondary education than ever before. This surging demand for higher education has created a supply/demand imbalance that has led to higher tuition fees.
As commentator Mark Cuban summed up, “The cost of college education today is so high that many young people are giving up their dream of going to college, while many others are graduating deeply in debt.”
Some interesting facts about rising college costs:
- The average cost of tuition and fees at a four-year public college in the U.S. was $10,560 for in-state students and $27,020 for out-of-state students in the 2020-2021 academic year, according to the College Board.
- In the 1980s, the cost of attending a public university in the U.S. as an in-state student was roughly $3,500 per year (adjusted for inflation).
- In 2012, the outstanding student loan debt in the U.S. surpassed $1 trillion, surpassing both credit card and auto loan debt.
- In recent years, some colleges and universities have implemented tuition-free or reduced-tuition programs, such as the New York State Excelsior Scholarship and the University of Texas’s Texas Advance Commitment.
Here is an example table outlining the average tuition and fees at four-year public institutions in select states as of the 2020-2021 academic year:
|State||Average In-State Tuition and Fees||Average Out-of-State Tuition and Fees|
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