Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The Real Costs of College

The Real Costs of College
Hannah Antczak

As November comes to an end, the deadlines for applications to many colleges across the nation are slowly approaching. With thousands of options for applicants, it is hard to narrow it down to just one. However, with the rising cost of colleges in recent years and the huge difference in price between in state and out of state tuitions, it only makes the decision harder. Some people question if college is even worth all the money. These days, with all the jobs and opportunities in the real world that require college degrees, it is better to go to college and spend the money to get the degree than go find a job straight out of high school.

College would be considered monopolistically competitive, as there are thousands of colleges in the US alone and all of them offer the same basic experience, however they don’t take their price from the market and there is a wide variety of costs.


There are many different opportunity costs that are paid when one decides to go to college. Instead of going to college, a person could find a job right out of high school. This would allow said person to make more money in 4 years instead of spending money to attend college. However, nearly 65% of jobs in our economy require some sort of degree besides a high school diploma, so not going to college would be giving up the opportunity to find better jobs (Carnevale).

Student loans are also another huge factor for deciding whether or not it is worth it to go to college. In June 2016, there were roughly $1.3 trillion worth of debt for Americans, and the average student finished school with $28,950 in debt. Because of all the debt, “45% of people with student loan debt said college was not worth it”. (“College Education”)

Although tuition is gradually increasing, there are still a lot of ways to avoid the high cost. Many schools across the country offer scholarships, both academic and athletic. There are even random scholarships, such as scholarships for tall people, that people can apply for to help pay for their tuition. Financial aid is another big way people can save money on tuition. Also, some high schools offer college level courses (such as AP classes) that allow you to save money and get college credit by passing a cumulative test at the end of the year.

Most of the costs of college are variable costs, so cutting some things out can help save money. For example, buying used books instead new books, living at home instead of in the dorms, or buying the 9 meal’s a week plan versus the 15 meals can all help in the long run nm
to save a little extra cash.

Overall, the positives outweigh the negatives when it comes to deciding whether or not it is worth it to attend college. Even with the high tuition and many opportunity costs, the experience you will receive in college will help tremendously when applying for jobs as many careers  nowadays require higher level education. College will give you so many connections and opportunities that you can’t receive anywhere else. In order to give everyone an equal chance to receive these experiences, tuition should be lowered to a more affordable price. It is unfair that there are so many smart and talented people in the world who are unable to go to college because of the money. Lowering tuition would allow even more people to go to college so no one would have to ask themselves that question: is it really worth it to go to college?

Carnevale, Anthony P., et al. Job Growth and Education Requirements Through 2020.
Georgetown University, cew.georgetown.edu/wp-content/uploads/ 2014/11/Recovery2020.ES_.Web_.pdf.

“College Education - ProCon.org.” ProConorg Headlines, college-education.procon.org/.

14 comments:

  1. I can heavily rate to this topic of conversation due to the fact that I will be choosing which college I will be attending in the very near future. I have to weigh the opportunity cost of choosing an in state school as opposed to an out of state school. Or whether or not it is worth going to college at all. It seems as though as the world becomes faster and the economy becomes more difficult to survive in college is a must. Demand for students with college degrees is higher than over, but so is the cost of college. Four years of partying has become very expensive, why not just do it for free and work as a waiter for the rest of my life? Those are some options I will have to weigh out as I get closer to decision time.

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  2. I agree with your article and it's very relevant to many students in this class since most of us will be going off to college soon. There's so many opportunity costs and real costs that make this decision even harder for me. I know there's scholarships out there, but when thousands of people are competing for the same one, it can be extremely difficult to be the one chosen. Overall, I agree with you that the positives outweigh the negatives and make college worth it because so many jobs in our economy today require a higher level of education.

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  3. I'm curious to see if there are any colleges that would essentially be monopolies or oligopolies, as Ivy League schools are considered to be a step above normal colleges, and they of course set their own price and are dependent on each other. But Seeing how they are in reality would be interesting.

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  4. As each graduating high school class enters college it seems as though the cost of tuition is increasing. Although there are prices included for room and board, books, and other categories it is still hard to believe that nearly $30,000 is going towards one year of education. Where is all of this money going anyways? The costs of tiny dorm rooms, repetitive food and professors who teach hundreds of students in one lecture at a time are, in my opinion, not worth the tens of thousands of dollars. The growing cost is increasingly difficult for nearly every family of a high school graduate. Although it does make sense that going to college will provide a wider variety of jobs, it still confuses me why college is so expensive if nearly every graduate needs to attend a university.

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    1. I agree with you Lexi as I to question why college is so expensive, however I am definitely willing to pay the price to get the career I want. It's crazy that we do have to pay so much though, as it cannot possibly cost that much for a college to operate. Though the opportunity cost is high, I have no doubts about putting my money towards college.

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  5. I definitely relate to this topic as making a decision on what the best college option is, is very difficult. A major piece of this though for many people, as you said, is the cost of tuition. Debating whether a school is worth the money and weighing the academics with other aspects of the school causes a variety of decisions to be made. If tuition was lower, I do believe more people may be able to go to the school that really is the best option for them and not have to worry about the loads of debt that they will have in the future. Overall, I think this is a very prominent question in our society because there are so many people buried in student loan debt because they made the decision to further their studies, in hopes of making more money in the future, but instead are stuck with lots of loans.

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  6. I agree with your statement that it is worth it to go to college after high school but I think there was an additional option that you may not have thought about. If you go to a two year college and then transfer to a university after those 2 years the tuition is considerably lower compared to public 4 year universities with the average annual cost being under 3,000 annually for 2 year colleges. It is a good option to get a 4 year degree without whiling being able to avoid taking out student loans.

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  8. Hi Hannah, this post was very informative and it really opened an eye to other people’s perspective on college. Here at Pewaukee, we often assume everyone is going to college, however for some people it really isn’t worth being swallowed in debt just to find a decent job after. One thing I am curious about is whether or not grades would matter, if people knew they would have bad grades at college, they would have a lower chance at getting a high paying job, and they would still be in debt. Could that potentially factor into going to college or not? Great piece!

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    1. I agree with Elly's comment on how our view of college here at Pewaukee is a bit biased. Students from Pewaukee are commonly asked about what their plans are after High School and more often than not students answer what colleges they have applied to. If the trend continues and colleges continue to raise their prices, less and less people will consider college as an obvious next step after High School.

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  9. I think the price of college will be a defining problem in the US for a long time. Part of the reason why the wage gap continues to grow is because rich people can pay to get better education, which lands them better jobs, which gets them paid more and more. Higher education should be a necessity for all citizens that want it.

    Also, I'm getting that tall person scholarship.

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  10. It’s crazy how expensive college has gotten over the last couple decades and it can be assumed that it is only going to continue to get higher. I agree with you that college tuition should be lowered; not dramatically, but enough so that more people can afford it without having the universities be forced to “give up” important amenities. It is hard to work on getting tuition lower because of how nice some college campuses are and not many people would be willing to give up those extra things. I think it is possible to come out of college with no debt; however, it requires a lot of hard work inside and outside of school as well as responsibility with money. Like you said, there are many scholarships that are available for people to apply for and help bring down the cost of tuition and although it takes time, it is worth applying so in the long run you don’t have to pay as much. I agree with you that it is important to get a four year degree for most jobs; however, it is still possible to be successful without one if your interests do not require a bachelors degree.

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  12. Thank you for sharing such great information. It has help me in finding out more detail about education loan for women

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