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  • Common Higher Education Mistakes Students and Policymakers Must Avoid
  • Posted By:
  • Staff Admin
  • Posted On:
  • 17-Jul-2015
  • When it comes to discussion on price of colleges, there is a strong disconnect of late. Some people argue that low income students can benefit from practically free education as the actual price of college for them is very low. Some other data and stories illustrate how moderate to low income families suffer due to skyrocketing college price even as their wages remain stagnant and living costs increase.

    It is clear that assumptions related to higher education fluctuate wildly due to varied perceptions of college affordability. Analysing the scenario, we can only conclude that people who refer to colleges as being totally unaffordable are factoring in student expenses such as transportation, board and room for the entire course.

    Interestingly, this is a disconnect that extends even to policy. Policy outcomes are very different for students because of the language used that leads to policymakers making wrong assumptions while discussing and formulating important basic policies.

    For example, the way in which college affordability is described could make a huge difference between students being saddled with heavy loan burden or receiving more help in terms of grants. Assumptions related to policy and language used for descriptions play a major role.

    There are many mistakes related to higher education that shows up in almost all conversations about college. Most people tend to look at college only in terms of tuition. When you carefully look at it, tuition accounts for only forty percent of what students have to pay in order to go through four year college.

    We all fail to factor in additional expenses such as transportation, books, supplies, room and board. At least seventy percent of the total cost of a two year public college is accounted for by non-tuition expenses. Students still find it difficult opting for colleges charging highly affordable tuition fee.

    What we are trying to say here is that we do not really get the entire picture just discussing about the rising tuition. It is imperative for policy makers to factor in other vital expenses for students who strive to attend college.

    There is no doubt that today the cost of educating our children has risen to enormous proportions. Students are passed on the burden of schools spending too much on amenities and administration. What policy makers must do right now is to contain these costs and also realistically analyse the situation rather than making random implications.

    According to what is documented by some organizations such as the Centre for American Progress, decrease in higher education spending and state support are the reasons for the rise of tuition fees. Revenue share received from the state governments by colleges in all fifty states has come down drastically since recession.

    This share of state dollars was hugely subsidizing the cost paid by students. This accounts for the share of revenue increase in at least 47 states from tuition dollars. The overall perspective must be taken into account while developing policies.

    Apart from the price to be paid by students and families for attending college, policy makers must also take into account the expenses incurred by institutions for providing the said education.


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