Effects of Rising Cost of College Fees
The cost of college education in the United States has become very high over a short period of time. From 2001 to 2011, two-year college institutions had increased their cost by about 55% (Archibald 22). This is a very short period for such a high increase in the cost of college education. This high cost of education has come at a time when education is perceived to be critical to a better life and high earnings in America. Therefore, the high cost of college education has affected different stakeholders and has had several negative consequences. This essay will explore both the effects of the ever-rising cost of college education and its consequences on different stakeholders. High levels of college drop outs, low college enrollment and students helping in paying fees are some of the effects and consequences of the rising college costs (Kane 196). Moreover, low living standards for families and parents using their retirement savings to pay college fees constitute effects and consequences of rising costs of college education (Vedder 104).
The increasing cost of college education has led many students to drop out of school. As mentioned earlier, the cost of college has increased by approximately 55% from 2001 and 2011(Archibald 22). Many Americans, especially the low income earners, cannot afford to pay for the ever-rising college costs. Since the college fees increases over time, those who had struggled to join college usually find it hard to continue with their education once the cost increases. Consequently, they drop out of college without any degree. To make matters worse, most of these drop outs had survived in college using loans. Once they drop out of college, it becomes difficult for them to secure a high paying job. Therefore, they are unlikely to pay back their education loan. According to a study conducted by the Institute of Higher Education Policy in 2011, 58% of those who had borrowed loans that were due for payment in 2005 had not acquired a degree (Kane 125). About 59% of them had already failed to pay their loans or had become delinquent on their loans, which contrasted sharply with the 38% of college graduates (Kane 125). This research clearly indicates that the increasing cost of college education not only leads to drop outs, but also incapacitates those with loans and renders them incapable of repaying it. As a result of their education loans, they cannot be able to borrow more money to buy a car, house or pay for college at a later date. Consequently, their lives become miserable since even raising a family becomes a problem.
The rising cost of college education has reduced the number of people enrolling for college education. A bachelor’s degree is perceived to be essential to gain access to the middle class in the American society. This means that with a college degree, a person is able to get a job faster than a person without a degree. According to a recent research by the US department of labor, the rate of unemployment among graduates is lower compared to those of people without college degrees (Ehrenberg 41). This implies that college education improves a person’s eligibility for employment. People who fail to attain a college degree due to its high costs are disadvantaged by having low employment chances. This implies that those who fail to enroll and get a college degree may be condemned to a less privileged life compared to those who complete their college degree. In addition, the low college enrollment rate reduces the country’s competitiveness compared to other countries.
The increasing cost of college education has shifted the obligations and responsibilities of paying college fees from parents to students. The increase in cost burdens parents. Parents have other financial obligations apart from paying college fees. Any increase in the college fees negatively affects their financial position. To cope with this burden, parents have demanded that students foot part of their college fees. As a result, students have been forced to work for long hours to get money to pay part of their school fees. This has had a negative consequence on the academic performance of the students. Students spend most of their time working to earn money. This time should have been used in studying and improving their grades.
The rising college fee has negatively affected the living standards of families educating one of their own in college (Lankford 85). Due to the high cost of college education and the need to educate their children, parents have decided to employ various cost-saving measures to meet the demand of college fees. Some of these measures include reducing expenditures at home for the parents and other members of the family. Moreover, the comfort that the student would wish to enjoy at college is reduced due to the increased costs. The students are forced to add a roommate at college so that they can share the cost of rent.
The effects of high college costs have led many parents to withdraw some of their retirement savings to cater for their children’s education (Vedder 123). Consequently, their old age is not guaranteed financially because once the savings have been used up, getting money to survive will be difficult at old age. Another consequence that results from the high college fees is that the withdrawals from the retirement savings may be counted by the government as taxable income. As a result, the family’s financial conditions may worsen. Furthermore, when the parents decide to pay college fees using their retirement savings, they unknowingly reduce the eligibility of the students to get loans. Since loans are given on the basis of one’s needs, any indication that the parents have the capacity to pay the fees can jeopardize the student’s chance of getting financial aid.
In conclusion, the ever-increasing cost of college education has had many effects not only on students, but also on the government and parents. For those who struggle to pay school fees, an increase, no matter how small may be very strenuous. The highest price paid by those who cannot keep pace with the rising cost of college education is dropping out of school. Dropping out of school for those with debts from education loan makes things worse since they are unable to repay the loan. Their inability to repay the loan is influenced by lack of good paying jobs that only go to those with certificates from college. Further consequences include inability to secure other loans before repaying the initial one. Low enrollment rates, the burden placed on parents paying fees and diminishing retirement savings are other negative effects of high cost of college education. Moreover, the standards of living are lowered by the burden of shouldering the increased costs.
Archibald, B. Robert. Why Does College Cost So Much? Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2010. Print.
Ehrenberg, G. Ronald. Tuition Rising: Why College Costs So Much, With a New Preface. Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. 2002. Print.
Lankford, D. Ronnie. The Rising Cost of College. New Jersey: Greenhaven Press. 2009. Print.
Kane, J. Thomas. The Price of Admission: Rethinking How Americans Pay for College. New Jersey: Brookings Institution Press. 2012. Print.
Vedder, K. Richard. Going Broke by Degree: Why College Costs Too Much. New York: American Enterprise Institute. 2004. Print.