Is College Too Expensive?


Freddie, Staff Writer

Since 2016, about 69.7% of highschool graduates have enrolled in college. Today nearly 19.9 million people attend college. But what about the other 30 percent of students who do not attend college? What is holding them back? The answer is finances. 

College tuition is on the rise and it does not seem to be stopping. From 1980 to 2014 the average college tuition has increased by more than 260%. Today, in America, the majority of college students attend a public college (14.56 million). A student will pay an average of $9,970 each year to attend a public school; if they are a resident of that state (in-state tuition). If a student plans to attend a public university that is not in the same state as their residency the average student will pay $25,620 each year. 

Though many students choose to attend a public university, still 5.1 million citizens go to a private university or college to further their education. A recent study found that the average college tuition of a private school is $46,950 per year. This lump sum of money would average around $181,800 for a standard bachelor’s degree (4 years). 

Doctor Craig Stephens, a respected teacher that has taught in the Quakertown School District for 32 years, shares how he feels that the rise in tuition prices makes college even harder. “It was always a big issue,” Doctor Stephens claims, “But it always felt doable. Now, with the cost of college and how it hasn’t kept pace with everything else, such as, healthcare, taxes, and the cost of homes, it is a much bigger issue now than it was before.”  

Stephens explains how he feels that students nowadays should highly consider going to college and their major because of the outrageous prices in college. “I think people really need to consider the level of financial debt they are getting into,” the Quakertown teacher says, “A lot of majors, a lot of colleges, it’ll take years to pay for that.” A study from 2018 found that the average student loan debt from a four year college student is around $28,650. Considering that the average college student had just been in school for 4 years, they most likely have a lot to do once they come home from school. Such as, finding a job, paying for a car, finding a future home, paying rent at their current estate etc. When graduates have all of these responsibilities, they need almost all of the money that they could possibly have. Therefore, most students would be incapable of paying off their loans shortly after their education has come to an end.

As college tuition rises more and more. Many do not see it coming to a consistent price over a long period of time. Rachael Hess, a Quakertown teacher who has not yet received her masters degree, concurs with Doctor Stephens and how college will most likely continue to grow. “Unfortunately I see it (tuition) growing,” Ms. Hess explains, “just like everything else has continued to grow over time.” 

Since college tuition cost perpetually rises and is on pace to continue to grow this could cause a change in the number of college students we see in the future. In the United States, as of 2018, the average household holds an income of $61,372. If college charges anywhere from 16% to 76% of the average citizens income, it could change many people’s ability and want to change to go to college due to the prices and the financial debt that would harm them. “The culture now is different so more people are going to college then they used to,” Doc Stephens compares to college education from before to now. “I do think… That we will see a major downward trend within the next 10 years because of the expensive tuition issues.”  

After graduating high school many students plan to continue their academic career by attending college courses. If the cost continues to rise many students may be turned away from their interest in school or they won’t be financially capable of it. College costs must come to a comfortable and affordable price so that anyone who wishes to attend college can do so.