A practical necessity to have a successful career in most fields today is to have at least a college degree. While those that have a college degree will ultimately earn more money than the typical nine college graduate, they are also left with a significant amount of debt due to rising costs. According to a recent news article (https://www.forbes.com/sites/ccap/2017/03/31/how-colleges-rip-off-students/#5c79055c7a32), college students today may be getting ripped off as colleges continue to increase costs.
The article points out that the cost of education over the past two centuries has continued to outpace inflation by a considerable amount. When Princeton University opened in 1840, the cost of tuition in a year was equal to about one quarter of the average American’s salary. The cost of tuition today is nearly $50,000, which is more than the median household income. At the same time, other American staples, such as cars, have become much more affordable over time.
While part of the cost of education is related to improved amenities, infrastructure, and even better education, universities are certainly not spending money efficiently. One of the biggest ways that colleges spend money is on new infrastructure including buildings, IT, athletic facilities, and other amenities. What is most surprising about these costs is that the kids who are actually paying for the facilities will likely be out of college by the time they are done. Furthermore, having these facilities does not necessarily lead to a better education, which means the return on the cost for a student is not beneficial.
It is also believed that part of the cost increase is due to the amount of services offered to students. Students today have access to a wide range of services offered at the school, which were definitely not around 50 years ago. These services can add value for some students, but do come with a big added cost. Ultimately, all of the building improvements and service enhancements are used more to attract new students to the school. At this point, they are almost a necessity for a college to complete in order for them to stay competitive with other schools.