ECON200-Blog Topic: Macroeconomics and Education

Higher education and how it is financed is a central theme of the upcoming presidential election, and a major issue for current college students and their parents. As college costs have been rising, (also here and here), students have demanded more financial aid and this has pushed much of the burden of paying for higher education on federal and state governments. Rising student loan debt has been met with calls for debt forgiveness, and is part of the Biden presidential campaign platform.

The COVID-19 crisis has created a new set of burdens for already struggling universities. Universities are facing a “demographic cliff” in the next few years which means declining enrollment and budgets. Adding to that, foreign students are now less likely to travel to the U.S. to study. Part of the reason for this is the newly hostile environment for foreigners studying in the U.S., who may no longer be able to stay here to work after their graduation. One prominent senator even suggested foreign students be limited in what they can study in U.S. colleges. Our most innovative companies have roundly criticized the H1B visa ban, with Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai noting, ““Immigration has contributed immensely to America’s economic success, making it a global leader in tech, and also Google the company it is today.”

State governments have cut spending on community and state colleges since the 2008 recession began, “for profit” schools had been on the rise. However, due to the fact that more “for profit” students were going into default (more recent examples include Everest College and other Corinthian schools). these schools have been under increasing pressure regarding their costs and standards. PBS Frontline released an episode called “College Inc.” which looked at “for profit” schools in detail.

There are new “free” education opportunities being pioneered by universities like MIT (their intro macro), which has helped start edX, and Coursera (and here) which has recently added courses from institutions like UVa.  Also, the Khan Academy was created by former investment banker Sal Khan to provide free education to the masses in the U.S. and elsewhere. The problem with the “free” model right now, is that there are few degree opportunities attached to these courses. However, this has changed a lot as many universities now consider online education as fundamental to their success. The online programs that now exist are largely expensive, partially because they are supported by technology that is not free to come by. So, even the public university system is rising in cost of providing online courses because they rely on private companies to provide their programs.

Furthermore, you have always been free to borrow the textbook that we use for this course from a local library, where you can read it, take notes on it, and attempt the problems. The same is true for essentially every other course you take in college. So why is it so expensive? What are you paying for? Are you just in college to collect some credential? As an economics student, you can probably understand at this point that the entire education package benefits the average student at least as much as the cost that you, your parents, and the government is paying for it. That does not mean it is the best deal around. Should there be fewer college students in general and should we make a bigger push for vocational training at an earlier age?

There has also been an increased emphasis on the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) majors in college which has led to declining interests in the humanities. How does a rising cost of education and/or the online movement of education impact the humanities? Are they going to face further declines in the number of students interested in their programs? Or are the humanities important to students graduating into today’s economy.

Questions you might want to answer:
I would like you to think about the rising costs of education, and how they might be contained. How do we get students to further internalize these costs, leading them to maybe make better decisions. DO NOT try to answer all of these questions, just focus on one topic. Also, try to think about your comment from different angles. To write a brief comment, read the previous comments, compose your thought in a Word document, and paste it in the comment box below. The more original and factually supported your comment, the better your grade will be. Finally, your comment will appear ONLY AFTER IT IS APPROVED. Please don’t email me asking where it is, it often takes a while for me to get to it.

  • Do you believe that state schools (community colleges or otherwise) are helpful in containing college costs?
  • Why do so many students pay so much more to attend certain non-profit private universities?
  • Do you believe that the “free” education system can be adopted to a model where students are willing to pay money to attend online courses? Or do you believe that universities like UVA will be happy to provide these courses and their instructors for free? Why has MIT adopted their OpenCourseware model, and how do edX and Coursera anticipate making money in the future (if they do?).
  • Do you believe that the “for profit” education system is worthwhile, or do you think that their students have been duped somehow? Surely some students must have had decent experiences at these schools, otherwise they would likely be out of business. Look for supporting or contrasting evidence.
  • What evidence is there that education, especially higher education, affects macroeconomic outcomes. Do increases to education levels lead to higher expected GDP levels and growth rates?

22 thoughts on “ECON200-Blog Topic: Macroeconomics and Education”

  1. I think that state schools are a good and helpful way to contain college costs because you still get the same education, but without the large price tag. I believe that many students choose out of state schools because they genuinely feel that it will give them a better education, in state schools may not provide their desired major, and sometimes out of state is less expensive. Whether it is because it is considered an elite school or not, some schools are thought to give a better education than others. There are also some majors that are not provided at some schools which could force students to leave their state and pay more. However some students may choose out of state because the out of state options are less expensive than in state options, for example William and Mary has an instate tuition of $22,922 whereas a school like Northern State University has an out of state tuition of $10,611. However with that being said, schools should continue to charge more for out of state tuition because those who pay in state tuition are already supporting the state (and therefore the school) because they pay state taxes.
    Higher education is important in boosting our economy. From the articles that I have read, there is a strong correlation between higher education and higher GDP. This is because more schooling will prompt a higher income, better jobs, and therefore more growth.

  2. In this era of rapidly advancing technology and expansive, easy communication through the internet, information spreads at rapid rates at little to no cost. As soon as anyone learns something, it can be made available to everyone else on the internet. This is something that universities should seriously consider with regards to their accreditation. Anyone that has access to the information taught at a university, whether from attending the university or acquiring it illicitly, can share it online at virtually no monetary cost (aside from that of an internet-accessing device and an internet plan, and perhaps bandwidth and a domain if they choose to create their own site).

    There are actually groups dedicated to this very concept. Massive open online courses, or “MOOCs”, are a relatively new paradigm that formed around 10 years ago (McGill University), that provide educational courses online for free. There are big providers of MOOCs that operate today, such as edX and Coursera. It would seem that in a matter of time, the only significant exclusivity that universities will hold is the ability to provide an accreditation. The catch is that a proper accreditation (like a degree) still cannot be obtained for free online. Coursera is for-profit, and they have made money by selling course completion certificates to students (Shah [A]), and more recently have partnered with universities to provide several degrees online (Shah [B]). Of course, universities offering online degree programs is not unheard of. Coursera is just making it easier for them. Even edX, who are non-profit, have to generate money somehow in order to pay their expenses. They have used certificates in the same vein as Coursera, required payment after courses are freely accessed for a limited time, and charged for the grading of academic work (McKenzie).

    The question is: could online degrees ever be offered for free? In my opinion, no. The cost of producing a class is simply too much for it to be completely free of access. A truly valuable learning experience requires a teacher to interact with students in order for them to gain a true understanding of the class’s content. Classes in some majors would also be very difficult to effectively teach online, for instance, music or science, which greatly benefit from experiences only available with others in person or with the materials that a university provides. Now, there are some classes that are rather straightforward in content (GenEds come to mind) that could potentially be taught with pre-made lectures and be automatically graded, but a degree includes lots of classes, many of which are much more in-depth, and the most important ones tend to benefit from the time and effort of a professor. So yes, I do believe that some degrees can be reasonably offered online, but I think that the cost of paying professors such that their services are free to their students is simply too much, at least across the board of an entire college. Degrees can certainly be reduced in price by going online, but not made free.

    McGill University – A Brief History of MOOCs

    McKenzie, Lindsay – EdX’s Struggle for Sustainability

    Shah, Dhawal [A] – Coursera’s Monetization Journey: From 0 to $100+ Million in Revenue

    Shah, Dhawal [B] – Coursera Launches Six New Degrees Including a Bachelors Degree

  3. Growing up, there are many variables which molded the mindsets of our young, developing minds, that decided upon what we like, and what we don’t like. I’ve heard various statements from friends on how they chose their university based off their childhood and how outside sources such as family members and friends persuaded which college, they grew up leaning towards. Many being non-profit, yet more expensive universities. Not only does childhood play a factor in deciding if a more expensive college would be a better choice for you, it comes down to your morals and beliefs. Some non-profit universities tend to be more expensive than for-profit universities, however non-profits are required to reuse their profit back into the advancement and education of their university. Young adults like the idea that what they are paying for comes back to benefit them, rather than for-profit universities which tend to use their profits towards advertising and investors. Many believe that the debt of the extra thousands of dollars payed per year for non-profit gives them a better college experience, both in education and social aspects. In the article, “Non-Profit vs. For-Profit Colleges: What You Need to Know,” by Franklin University they explain, “Nonprofit colleges, on the other hand, spend the majority of tuition dollars on enhancing the academic experience… nonprofit institutions actually invest more money, on average, than they receive in tuition.” This reveals the idea of cost-benefit analysis. Attempting to find the best approach while taking the cost of the university versus the benefit of the university and deciding upon that.

  4. The total cost of attendance for an in-state college student at James Madison University is $23,918 and for an out-of-state college student attending James Madison University would cost $40,818 (James Madison University). That is almost double the cost of attending college for an out-of-state student who is trying to receive an education. Why are in-state schools cheaper than out of state schools? The education system in the United States is controlled by individual states rather than the federal government (Pascarella). Each state has a public institution that it runs and funds and the funding from these schools comes from the state residents in the form of state taxes. Which in result, in-state residents can attend the public institutions at a lower cost than out of state residents. Hence, more saving in the long run for in-state college students (Pascarella). The entire purpose of attending college is to major in something one is interested in and earn the degree and experience to be able to find a job and earn a living. Students often forget that in the long run, one’s knowledge of the field and skills is what will earn them income not what college they attended. Although one can’t ignore the fact that going to an elite college can come in handy in certain job interviews, it isn’t always the case and you must also remember the number of student loans one will be in if they were to choose out-of-state. Many students can’t afford to go to a four-year in-state university straight away but even then, there are community colleges that are cheaper than attending an in-state university. For example, attending a two-year in-state college in Virginia in 2018-2019 was $8,439 (College calc) and that is without even taking financial aid into account which ends up costing even less. In my opinion, many students don’t prefer to attend a 2-year community college because they fear that they may miss out on the “ideal college experience” but fail to realize that college is more about earning the degree than attending sorority parties. Additionally, once students finish their 2-year community college, they can transfer to an in-state university of choice to further their knowledge and it will cost less as well because you are paying for only the remaining 2 years of the in-state university rather than the full 4-years. As well as be able to still experience college life without the burden of the student loans building up. Especially with COVID-19 and the effect on the economy, colleges want to raise tuition so if you are attending an out-of-state university, tuition may be higher than it already is. Therefore, in my opinion, the lower cost of in-state colleges and the benefit of attending a 2-year community college is in fact a good choice when it comes to receiving a good education at a less costly price.

    Pascarella, Sarah. “Are State Schools Cheaper?” Edmit.png,

    James Madison University. “Tuition, Financial Aid & Scholarships.” James Madison University, 1 June 2020,

    College Calc. “Virginia Community Colleges, Cost and Affordability for 2020.” Community Colleges in Virginia,

  5. Public universities and community colleges offer many students great opportunities to obtain a higher degree at less of a cost than the same degree at a private or for profit school. When comparing the two, the average cost of a 4 year degree (minus room and board) at a private university is $147,520 while the same degree at a public university is $41,760/$107,280 (in and out of state rates respectively). The reason public colleges and universities are able to keep tuition lower is their financial support from the federal government.
    Overall enrollment rates help keep costs down too. JMU has an undergraduate enrollment total of 19,943 with the ratio of in-state and out-of-state students at 77/23. Compared with Bridgewater College right down the road having only 1,857 students. Higher enrollment numbers are going to allow for tuition and overall cost to stay lower than their private competitors.
    However, the sticker price of private universities isn’t necessarily what students pay. Keeping with Bridgewater College, the sticker price of tuition is $36,600 but after aid the average cost is $19,538. Compared to JMU’s in-state tuition of $11,576 that is still a pretty penny, but not so much for out-of state-students. For an out-of-state student looking between Bridgewater and JMU, JMU may actually be more expensive. Bridgewater would still cost on average $19,538 whereas JMU would cost the student roughly $28,790. This discount of tuition may allow some low or middle income students from surrounding states the opportunity to receive a college education at a much more affordable cost than if they would attend a state school from their home area.
    The cost of going to college and earning a degree can be expensive no matter where you go but depending on if you are looking at a school outside of your home state, a public university might not be the most economical choice all else equal.

  6. Do I believe that the “for profit” education system is worthwhile, or do I think that their students have been duped somehow? Surely some students must have had decent experiences at these schools, otherwise they would likely be out of business. Schools around this world have prices of tuition higher than 50,000 per semester. But if you notice, those schools have a higher reputation than other schools with lower prices, and the scores of the students and rates of the students attending there are averaged much higher than other schools. I do believe I can get something out of a “for profit” education system due to the fact that all the money that we put into the college for our dues and fees would be put in for our instructors and resources to help us get a better education for ourselves. There could be instances where the education system could be corrupted to not use the money for the resources the students can use; but colleges like UVA, VA Tech, and even JMU, they use the money to help us with our education. It’s more of an investment in our life and with that we can reap our investment with the money we put in “for profit” education systems in college.

  7. The “for profit” aspect of college education is somewhat of a scam for certain people. Yes, there are a large number of jobs that require college education, but there are also a lot of jobs that do not. In addition to that, where one gets their degree does not have as much of an affect as people assume. For example, one who gets a degree from Harvard University versus one who gets a degree from a cheaper school should in theory have the same opportunity for a job. Harvard’s in-state tuition in the 2019-2020 school year was $46,340, while Immaculata University’s in-state tuition for the 2019-2020 school year was $26,500. The numbers above do not account for the additional costs like room and board. The high cost of attending Harvard does come with the prestige that the university has to offer, but one must think about whether or not the students are coming out of school with the correct knowledge and comprehension needed for their future careers. One could say that a student is getting a better education at Harvard, since they have more money to invest in their professors and educational tools, but that is not necessarily true. Harvard, like many other universities, puts a lot of additional emphasis on research from their professors. This could lead to a professor worrying more about their research rather than the class they are teaching, especially if that same professor has tenure. Someone could look at two students, one who attended Harvard, and one who attended Immaculata. They both have the same exact job and make the same exact amount of money, but one is paying back a lot more in student debt. There are arguments of why the higher price for education is worthwhile, but in many cases it is unnecessary. People have decent experiences at both schools, but it is the stigma surrounding college degrees and the whole experience that makes people willing to pay these high prices, especially with the help of financial aid.,%2C%20board%2C%20and%20fees%20combined.

  8. Cost is a big factor when it comes to a student deciding what university they would like to attend. A lot of people think that an education at a private university is a better education over a public university. The difference between private and public universities, is that private universities do not receive state legislature funds. They have high tuition and donors to cover the cost that public universities receive. James Madison University received about $41,625,000 from Federal, State, and Non-government Grants and Contracts in 2019. That is about 7% of all their revenues from income sources. Also, in their 2019 Endowment plan, 57.3 million dollars were put towards academic scholarships. It takes a lot to run a university, but the looks and innovation of the school presents to people that the university is keeping up with the time and providing the best for the students. Better reputation= more applications= more students= hopefully successful JMU alum. In full circle, more funds will be to improve the education of students.
    The name of your school I believe has a very big impact on your future career. When you research for a doctor you wish to go to, they advertise which medical school they went to because it does matter. Programs can be better than others. Yes, hard work at any university will help you succeed but from lectures we have received and advice we have learned, is that networking is one of the best ways to have doors open and opportunities that we might have not gotten otherwise. JMU has a huge networking pool that help JMU students receive jobs and introduce people who may be able to help them. Out-of-state tuition at JMU is twice as much as in-state. I think academic scholarships could help the problem with the rising cost, with any university. In 2017, it is estimated that $2.3 billion were unclaimed in Federal Pell Grants. There are also a bunch of scholarships that go unclaimed each year because they are not known about. Applying for these funds will help students be able to go to their school of choice without the cost being a huge factor. With more people able to go to a college without minding the cost, the employed will increase with a college degree providing these students with better jobs which will help the economy in the long run.

  9. When deciding what college a student wants to attend, the main concern is affording that college. Throughout the years, most college tuition has increased. To attend James Madison University as an out of state student, it costs $28,416, not including room and board and other expenses. But the main concern for most out of state students is the COVID-19 outbreak. Most students do not want to pay out of state tuition to be taking classes at their home. But this problem affects both the student and the university. Can James Madison afford to lose revenue over not allowing students to be on campus and living in their dorms? James Madison has a set in policy, where students can only transfer in nine credits from a community college. Therefore, they would still receive income from students who still are full/part-time enrolled. But they lose all of their other revenue; dining halls, room and board, UREC, etc. But for students, it comes down to how much they value their education from JMU. Especially during times like the COVID-19 outbreak, some families are struggling, and the cost of tuition is still high.
    James Madison University is an excellent example of rising education costs. JMU is in an expansion period. They are trying to grow their student population for their football program. Therefore, they need more revenue to provide the services required to take in more students. During this time, James Madison will still need to raise their costs because this outbreak will cause them to lose students and revenue. For the next couple of years, JMU will need to increase their costs and find new revenue streams to get them back on track.

  10. Throughout our entire k-12 education, students are told about the importance of college. Especially when students enter high school, teachers and guidance counselors often say college is the next step toward success. In the sense of GDP, maybe it is. In the publication, The Economic Impact of Increasing College Completion, they say, “…as the education level of the workforce rises, so do earnings and output. After a number of years, the economy is more productive, and employment and GDP are larger…” (Koropeckyj). The numbers may show college is worth the outrageous (average) price of tuition around $21,000 (CollegeBoard), but for it to be worth it, expenses should decrease. States are not providing enough funding to contain the costs. Students bear this burden when their tuition continues to rise each year. “Overall state funding for public two- and four-year colleges in the school year ending in 2018 was more than $6.6 billion below what it was in 2008” (Mitchell). In short, ever since the Recession in 2008, states have failed to reduce higher education costs. This also takes away the opportunity for a higher education from those students that come from lower income families, in turn, increasing inequality. For those who do pursue a higher education at an expensive university, it still may not be worth it. In a Forbes Magazine article written by Casey Bond, she said that while applying for a job after college, the employer did not care about where she got her degree, just that she had one. Though higher education may give a boost to a successful future, expenses are still too high. Personally, I chose to go to JMU because, in society today, having a diploma helps significantly. Although, as I look at how much to take out on a loan, I questions the costs and benefits of doing so. My final say is that although higher education is proven to be better for the economy in terms of GDP, states are not providing individuals with enough aid to make college affordable.

  11. State schools, such as community colleges, are extremely helpful when the cost of attending college is a major concern. Cost of attendance to a four year university/college is one of the biggest determining factors when selecting what college to attend, or the decision to even attend college at all. Community colleges provide the same level of education as most four year universities (private or public) but with a much smaller financial blow. Tuition is less, there is no mandatory cost for room and board (as many freshmen have to live on campus at four year universities), and the total debt accumulated is significantly less than that debt burdened from two years at a four year university. Community colleges also provide recent high school graduates a more comfortable environment to transition into post-high school education as they are still able to live at home and have less distractions that a four year college campus would provide (Greek life, parties, etc.). However, what I see as the biggest financial benefit from community college is the ability to transfer to a four year university after completing courses at a community college. By doing this, students can gain an associate’s degree, transfer to a university, and have their first two years of college already completed, and at a lower cost. For example, I took community college courses while in high school (DE classes). Because of this, I was able to complete a years-worth of credit hours before coming to JMU. Therefore, that is $23,918 (JMU’s total cost of attendance) that I will not have to worrying about paying and/or taking loans out for since my community college courses allow me to graduate in three years instead of four. Unfortunately, this is not an option for everyone as many students chose to go to out-of-state universities which usually do not take DE courses. However, for those students who plan to remain in-state, community college is one of the best ways to gain credits at a lower cost as well as save money if they choose to obtain a bachelor’s degree later on.

  12. The ever increasing college tuition rates has raised awareness to this country-wide problem. According to CNBC, college tuition rates have increased roughly 25% since the 1978-1979 school year (Hess). During the 1978-1979 school year, the price of attending a private university was $17,680 and $8,250 to attend a public university. The most recent studies have those numbers at $48,510 and $21,370, respectively. For many families across the United States, this has become too expensive for them to afford. In lieu of this situation, students have started to take out student loans just to be able to afford to go to college. In some studies done regarding recent college graduates, an alarming number of students have had to move back into their parent’s house because they cannot afford to pay off their student loans with the job they currently have. Despite this current issue, many other viable avenues have risen. For example, community colleges have become increasingly more popular for some students who can not afford a four year institution or just simply want to save money. Most four year universities will accept credits from community colleges so it is possible to start at a community college and then transfer to the four year university after a couple of years. Along with community colleges, trade schools have also started to become more popular in recent years. This goes to prove that you do not need to go to a prestigious four year institution to get a good paying job. There are countless ways to make money and be successful, and it is not necessary for someone to attend a Harvard or a Yale to do so. I believe that many students choose these prestigious universities just for the name on their degree. It is not a guarantee that a student will get the best job just because they graduated with a degree from an Ivy League school; there is a huge misconception regarding this idea. On the other hand, by no means am I trying to say that getting a degree from the Harvard Law School will not get you a job, but it is not guaranteed. As I mentioned before, trade schools are a viable option for high school graduates. In conclusion, it is not necessary for one to go to college and get a degree in order to be successful later in life.

  13. Community colleges are an option that students graduating need to keep in mind. Weighing the pros and cons of choosing, can leave a student feeling as they are behind or missing out on the experience that 4 year students are paying to receive. The Princeton Review gives strong arguments on the benefit of community colleges, leading with the fact that “the average published yearly tuition and fees for a public two-year college is just $3,440” compared to 12,000-28,000 dollars JMU charges their students. Students are given the time to explore other interests as well as figuring out what they might like to do, unlike many people who jump in head first trying to find their way as they go. “For some, community college is a chance to make up for a poor high school record”, that may then allow them to receive future scholarships they were once unable to obtain with their past academic choices. With small class sizes making the students ease into the change of large classrooms with less individual help. There are a handful of students who work while in a four year institution, but state institutions allow someone to have more room to save as well as work their way through college or save for transferring. “Spending two years at a community college can give you time to work and save up for the four-year college of your choice”, while also avoiding the cost of room and board. As a young adult is dealt with options of gaining the experience or figuring out more about themselves and what they would like to do, state schools are an option that should be taken into account.

  14. While growing up, most people are told that attending college and receiving your degree is a massive part of getting a job and making money, while others think of it as just a recipe for debt. According to US News, it cost roughly 40,000 dollars for private education and 11,000 dollars for in-state and 27,000 for out of state education per year. These price tags come with a degree in return, but obtaining a Master’s degree or higher comes with a heftier toll. Another major thing to consider is the difference between these universities’ s/colleges and the difference between their undergraduate learning. Most schools require general education courses that must be passed to graduate, some being Music, Health, Writing, etc. A significant problem with these is that they can be seen as a money vortex that swallows tuition that can be used at a community college due to the credit transfer process. At almost all colleges, these classes are mandatory, when in reality, students are attending colleges for their specific major, and the experience and making students take these classes is very controversial. These classes should not be required, and out of state students see the worst side of this coin due to the fact that they are taking the same courses during this COVID-19 pandemic while they are at their hometown and getting the same learning as those instate. Currently, the community college I could attend would be close to 18,000 dollars for an associate’s degree or two years worth of college and would save me close to 60,000 dollars due to room and board and other necessary dues for JMU. This is a smart financial situation that people could consider to cut down on long term debt but still want to receive their degree from an established tuition and receive the experience of college as well.,News%20in%20an%20annual%20survey.

  15. Overall, state schools provide a wide range of price points for prospective students. Students have the option of community colleges, public universities, trade schools, online schools and private institutions all of which come with different settings and opportunities. Most schools do a fairly good job at containing costs and providing students with resources they pay for. For most high school seniors, including myself, when looking at colleges some prefer to think more of the experiences and opportunities a specific institution can provide them. Others will look at cost and plans for repayment, which is what I would consider the more logical approach to college shopping. Now in saying this, I will say that sometimes the more low-end options do not offer the wide range of degrees and opportunities larger universities have. These schools do this so that they can limit costs and limit the number of staff they have to pay and resources they have to invest in like science equipment and technology.
    Now let’s talk about specifics. The average cost for a public university in Virginia comes to $15,908 per year. It’s important to note that these costs do not just go to waste. The annual dollar amount for a public college typically includes textbook costs, transition training, 5-6 classes, access to libraries and research materials, room and board, food, tutors, job fairs, and various other things. Now the average student will attend for four years totaling to $63,632, assuming there are no scholarships, grants, or awards given to the student. It’s important to note this total does not include other added expenses students may occur. Just that number alone is intimidating to students who are responsible for paying back their student loan costs. Due to this high cost, we see a good portion of college graduates moving back home for a year or two so they can pay back their students loans at a quicker rate. On the flip side, there are careers that offer loan reimbursement for college students working to pay back their loans. The annual cost for a community college in Virginia is $8,439 which is almost half the amount of a public university. While some see community college as the more practical form of higher education, we also have to remember that community colleges do not have the same number of degrees, majors, and resources made available to students so they can keep costs down.
    In all, I would say that most Virginia schools do well when it comes to containing costs. The phrase “you get what you pay for” definitely comes into play and I think more students should consider that when college shopping.

  16. As non-profit private universities continue to increase in enrollment and tuition costs, many students are faced with the critical decision whether to pursue private education opportunities or more affordable public universities. Factors such as the prestige of the institution, quality of education, and the employment rate and return investment after graduation play a key role in the selection. Non-profit private universities like Harvard, MIT, and Stanford, are globally renowned universities. Acceptance is recognized as an impressive milestone as many students spend years preparing their application. Rigorous and strenuous measures are directed towards this effort including tutoring, extracurriculars, or work experience. Students often apply to such schools as they may warrant boastful attitudes among their peers. Additional benefits often include a network of famous and well-connected alumni. (College Counselor Services) Networking plays an important role in achieving one’s ambitions as connections are crucial for a competitive edge in many industries. Another beneficial factor is the potential return investment from these schools. Although public universities offer lower accumulated debt, due to cheaper tuition, nonprofit private university students tend to make more on average. According to Abigail Hess, a journalist for CNBC, Stanford University was ranked the top nonprofit private university in 2019 with a median salary of $76,500 for alumni with 0-5 years of experience. In contrast, the top public university in 2019 was the University of Washington, Seattle, where the median salary for alumni with 0-5 years of experience was $59,900. Although the likelihood of gaining employment in certain industries does rely on the social connections of an individual, that are often guaranteed by a nonprofit university, the quality of education also comes into effect. Small class sizes are more common in non-profit private universities due to higher amounts of funding and smaller graduating class sizes of the student body. Professors are also paid better in non-profit private universities according to data from The Chronicle of Higher Education. Better paid professors tend to translate into their passion for the subject that they are teaching which gives the student an opportunity to learn from passion. One can argue that even with all of these benefits, the educational experience and employability could be just the same as someone who goes to a public university. Overall students must weigh the costs and benefits of attending a non-profit private university and choose carefully as this is a major investment.

    Works Cited

    “Faculty Salaries at 4-Year Private Colleges.” Chronicle Data,

    Hess, Abigail. “New Research Finds Private Colleges Pay off More than Public Colleges-but It’s Complicated.” CNBC, CNBC, 14 Nov. 2019,

    Hess, Abigail. “The Top 50 US Colleges That Pay off the Most.” CNBC, CNBC, 24 July 2019,

    “What Are the Benefits of Going to a Private University?” College Counselor Services,

  17. I believe that state schools and community colleges are helpful in containing college costs. Students are typically drawn to four-year universities because they offer many things a community college does not like sports and student life. However community colleges can be very helpful with saving money and now offer students many more options in pursuing their degree. What students don’t see is that tuition is very more affordable, and you have more flexibility with your classes. At the end of they day, the quality of education is ultimately the same, and you will still get your degree. So many students pay so much more to attend certain non-profit private universities because they believe they have higher education. Yes, private university may have more money to get more resources and connections, however it is very expensive. I believe if students see the price differences and how you still get the same degree you would at a community college, it would lead them to make better financial decisions.

  18. Looking at other countries that provide very low costing or free higher education, like Denmark, Norway, Ireland, and Sweden just to name a few, the United States is more than capable at providing this “free” education system. The United States could take some of the same ways of paying for college that these other countries are doing for low or free higher education and make a plan that works for us. Unfortunately for American college students, College is a money making business and it is the only way that the Colleges can function at full capacity, without our tuition and extra fees the schools would have to close down. This can be easily seen as how Covid-19 has taken away JMU’s normal income and the actions that JMU has had to take to help in the loss of the income they had expected to make. While it would be nice for universities like UVA to provide free courses available to students, it would not be realistic for them as they would need to get the money from somewhere, which would normally be from taxes or donors. Colleges are not focused on helping the students out with free courses, but they would do it for tuition and the extra fees. For programs like OpenCourseware model, edX, and Coursera their main goal is to help others achieve knowledge that they may be seeking. While these programs may be run or developed by a university, they would be considered non profit organizations that dont expect money in return for their services unless users feel generous and would like to donate. It would take a lot of time and the development of resources for other universities to participate in providing these non profit programs for students and other people that are genuinely curious about the course.

    “About Us.” EdX, 16 Mar. 2018,

    How Much Do Tertiary Students Pay and What Public Subsidies Do They Receive?

  19. Community colleges should be a more accepted option for students after highschool without the backlash of receiving a cheaper education. The first two years at any university you are taking general education classes that allow you explore different majors without going into too much detail. These classes are just scraping the surface of certain topics to allow you to see what does and does not interest you. This can end up being a hefty price tag for you trying to find out your passions or potential future career, and it may be that you take all of the starter courses to still not even have a clue what you want to do. Community college is a great alternative to taking all these general courses at a much lower cost while figuring out what you want to do after the two years are up. When graduating highschool at 18, everyone just seems to be pushed straight into a whole new transitional period from what they are used to. Community college is a great opportunity to test out if a higher education is right for you without breaking the bank. Room and board is not needed, which is a huge chunk of money at universities. Being introduced to college level classes at a much smaller student to teacher ratio can also be very important in figuring out if you are interested in small, medium or larger public universities. After two years are up you could decide to just receive your associate’s degree or move on to a four year university. This saves you the first two years of university tuition, with enough credits transferred in to be a junior. Community colleges are helpful in containing college costs by not breaking the bank but still pursuing higher education.

  20. There are less companies and employers are requiring college degrees. Elon Musk has said in many interviews that you do not need a college degree to work at Tesla. Which is surprising, but when you look on websites like The Chronicle of Higher Education and see how much many colleges across the country costs, for either in state or out of state, you can see why. Cost of a college degree, especially from private universities, has increased dramatically over the past few years and will continue to climb. In an article on Covenant Wealth Advisors’ website, it is mentioned that “over the past 5 years, college tuition costs have risen 5% per year. In addition, there is a calculation from 2019 which took average cost of college tuition in 2017-2018 ($20,770) and wanted to figure out what the cost would be in 18 years based on 5% inflation rate. After this calculation the average would increase to $49,985 per semester, an increase of around 140%! Based on studies/calculations people are beginning to seek out cheaper ways to get an education or if they really need to go to college to achieve their goals.
    There is also this misconception that you must go to a “top”/ “private” college, however those in particular are the most expensive when it comes to tuition. Many people end up going the cheaper option, state college, for the same “piece” of paper with different schools on it. Another option is for people to go to community college get an associate degree and move into a field that may only require further certifications. Many of these jobs are considered “trade jobs” such as dental hygienist, air traffic controller, construction manager or even a cardiovascular technologist and many more. Of the 15 trade school careers listed on Vista College’s website the average median salary was $70,687, which you can do well on depending on the area of the country you live in. That statistic alone shows that you do not need to go to some high caliber, private, or even a full 4-year university to have the opportunity to pursue a career.

  21. I believe that state schools and community colleges are extremely helpful when it comes down to containing college costs. At a big name out of state college or at a state school or at a community college, you will be getting the same education, but the cost of that education is differ depending on where one attends. Many students feel that they want to go to those big name out of state colleges because they want to get away from home and have the freedom and they also feel that it is a better education. Students also realize that maybe their state school or community college doesn’t offer the major that they are interested in so they want to go to a big-name school. The thing that people don’t realize is that you can always go to a community college or state college and finish all your general education classes and then go to that big-name college to focus on their actual major for a lot cheaper and a lot less college debt when they finish school. For example, I live in New Jersey and one of our local state colleges is Rowan University. The cost of in-state tuition at Rowan is $35,889 for one year. One of our local community colleges is about $15,956 if you live in the district of the school and you are off-campus, but if you are in the district but living with your parents it is about $9,206. While I go to JMU which the out of state for me is $45,454 per year instead of those who are in-state and pay $28,426 per year. I believe it is fair that out of state people pay somewhat more than those who are in the state because the in-state students are helping out the state by going to a school in the state in which they live in. Also, I feel that with everything going on with COVID-19 that colleges will raise the cost of out of state tuition because they have people coming from all different places around the world and they don’t know if someone will bring COVID with them. So I feel that it will be in the best interest of the upcoming college students to do a 2-year community college then go to a big university to complete their major.

  22. The concept of a free education system is quite enticing in theory. Many people, especially in the wake of the increasingly devastating COVID impacts on the economy, are interested in obtaining a traditional education through well-known universities or state schools but are not in a financial situation allowing them to do so. An opportunity to take part in a series of online courses that provide the same general value of the expensive traditional college experience would serve as a tremendous benefit for thousands of less fortunate people worldwide. Right? The potential success of such a revolutionary movement would depend highly on the ability of the system itself to maintain a steady and valuable form of education despite low, if any, source of income. Currently, there are a few issues preventing MOOCs from being sustainable as a free education alternative. MOOCs often do not provide official degrees or certifications for free, reduces the value of free education to certain employers. However, there is still much to be gained from an educational experience with a respected professor from other major universities. The issue there is the willingness of qualified instructors to teach these courses for free. State colleges and universities are not immune to the effects of the COVID recession, and many are suffering budget cuts and pay reductions for their workers. In times like this, it is unlikely that many qualified professors would be willing to continuously instruct free programs without an acceptable pay rate, and MOOCs will probably not have the money to convince said instructors to accept a position with a budget based on a free education system. Programs such as Coursela generate revenue by selling certifications to its students, and they provide pay for instructors as well. An attempt is being made toward adopting these free courses to paid system, but I do not believe a major change is underway. The appeal of the programs was intended to be education at a lower cost, but if the education being received is not taken as seriously by employers or interviewers, or requires payment to do so, these programs may be in need of revision before any major improvements are achieved.

    Anderson, Nick. “Elite Education for the Masses.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 3 Nov. 2012,

    Eckstein, Jakob. “How Coursera Makes Money.” Investopedia, Investopedia, 5 Feb. 2020,

    Flaherty, Colleen. Professor Pay Is Flat — Again, Inside Higher ED, 8 Apr. 2020,

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