ECON200-Blog Topic: Macroeconomics and Education (F20)

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?

36 thoughts on “ECON200-Blog Topic: Macroeconomics and Education (F20)”

  1. [* Shield plugin marked this comment as “Trash”. Reason: Failed Bot Test (expired) *]
    When I began applying to colleges, I only applied to Virginia schools. One of the biggest reasons for this was the fact that in-state tuition is much more affordable than out of state tuition. With the nation’s total student debt balance standing at 1.5 trillion, it’s hard for me to honestly say that state schools are doing a great job at containing college costs. Among students who borrow money for college, the average debt at graduation is $29,921. To an adult who has reached their salary cap, this may not seem like a lot of money. However, to someone who has just graduated, this can seem like a large amount of money. On the other side of this coin, community colleges are a great option for students looking to save money. As a matter of fact, I took dual enrollment classes as a senior to save some money. I took these courses through the local community college, NOVA. If I were thinking straight at the time, I would have enrolled in more of these classes when I was in high school. Aside from community college, many colleges offer scholarships to students to help ease the financial burden. However, even with these scholarships, costs can still be expensive. I know because one of my siblings won several scholarships at UVA, and still got stuck with massive student loan debt. So yes, state schools are SOMEWHAT helpful in containing college costs, but if you think they will take care of you, I advise you to think again.


  2. When I began applying to colleges, I only applied to Virginia schools. One of the biggest reasons for this was the fact that in-state tuition is much more affordable than out of state tuition. With the nation’s total student debt balance standing at 1.5 trillion, it’s hard for me to honestly say that state schools are doing a great job at containing college costs. Among students who borrow money for college, the average debt at graduation is $29,921. To an adult who has reached their salary cap, this may not seem like a lot of money. However, to someone who has just graduated, this can seem like a large amount of money. On the other side of this coin, community colleges are a great option for students looking to save money. As a matter of fact, I took dual enrollment classes as a senior to save some money. I took these courses through the local community college, NOVA. If I were thinking straight at the time, I would have enrolled in more of these classes when I was in high school. Aside from community college, many colleges offer scholarships to students to help ease the financial burden. However, even with these scholarships, costs can still be expensive. I know because one of my siblings won several scholarships at UVA, and still got stuck with massive student loan debt. So yes, state schools are SOMEWHAT helpful in containing college costs, but if you think they will take care of you, I advise you to think again.


  3. When choosing colleges, many people have chosen to stay in state for college because the cost of in state tuition is much cheaper than out of state tuition. I am from Maryland, so I was surprised to see how many students at James Madison University are actually from Virginia, I’d say it is about half the population. The average cost between in state tuition and out of state tuition is $8,990. I believe that state colleges and community colleges are a better option if you are trying to save a bit more money, but there is still massive student debt in this country, in the trillions in fact.
    Especially now because of COVID and students are being sent back home or do online school, they are realizing they can just take classes in state for cheaper or at local community college. My brother is a freshman at University of Maryland and he seriously considered just going to the community college and take classes there since he is already online and not benefiting from in person education. Colleges are going to have to figure something out because students and parents are waking up and realizing that all that money they are paying for these big colleges could not be worth the money.
    I believe that community colleges and state colleges, especially in these times right now, are and excellent alternative. The price might still be ideal, but is better than out of state tuition and all the money you spend traveling to a big school. The average per credit cost for a community is $135, which is half then the $325 spent per credit at a 4 year university. So if you earn your general education credits or get an associates degree at a 2 year college, you could save up to $10,000. This is very helpful for those students who are worried about student debt. Even though they still might have a chance of being in student debt, it will not be as great as cost as attending a four university for four years. So in conclusion, I believe state and community colleges do benefit those in state or attending the community college and make it much cheaper for them.


  4. The high costs of college education are a serious concern for students. Not only are the prices steep, but they are rising and the state of Virginia is not doing enough. According to State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, the average price increase for a four-year, in-state college from 2018 to 2019 was $466. This 5.7% increase should not be taken lightly, as this same website shows that the trend of increasing prices for college has been happening for years. This issue needs a solution quickly so that students can be in a position of success when they graduate.

    There are multiple angles at which this predicament can be approached but price might not be the main issue. Rather, what is being taught and the length at which it is being taught is the heart of the problem. Four years with such high prices is draining the possibility of success for students, but if the college system changed the undergraduate curriculum to be only two years, that solves a huge problem. By keeping more money in the pockets of students and giving two years of their life back for the future, the college system will have done a great service. One might argue that four years is necessary for the future success of students, but the reality is that most of the general education courses, which is a large number of classes, are simply repeated classes from high school. Many of these, such as the English, math, and science, do not need to be retaught, especially when most student’s majors have nothing to do with these courses.

    College Calc states that it cost, on average to attend college in Virginia, $15,908, which was for in-state tuition during 2018-19. For a student to spend that amount each year and know that a good portion of that money is going to classes that he/she has no interest in is disheartening and maybe even unwise. The only problem is that a four-year degree requires these gen-ed classes. Thus, if Virginia’s requirements were changed by eliminating the gen-ed curriculum, this could fix a massive problem.

  5. I think college is a big part of after high school education. Looking at the cost of schools, I personally believe that every college is ridiculously expensive whether it’s public or private. State colleges or community colleges are a good alternative for getting a college degree while being money conscious. I personally feel that there is no outstanding benefit from attending a private university or college. State colleges and universities keep the prices of private universities and colleges in check because if they were too expensive than everyone would go to state schools rather than a private. Where I am from there is a stigma towards attending a community college rather than going to a four-year college. When I applied to college, I only applied to one out of state school and all the rest being in state. I knew personally going out of state would be beyond my budget for schooling. Even though this one school was my dream. Once hearing back from every school, I just knew I would not be going out of state just because of how much of a cost difference it would be for me. I believe that state schools are helpful containing college costs because they receive federal and state funding. This helps lower the costs since not all of the financial burden is put on the institution. When my mom went to pharmacy school, she went for a total of five years. Two years of school and then three years of pharmacy school which costed 25,000 in total for her. Today you have to get a degree from a four-year college then go to pharmacy school for five years. Today it’s about 50,000 a year. That just shows how much expensive school is now compared to 1993.


  6. [* Shield plugin marked this comment as “Trash”. Reason: Failed Bot Test (expired) *]
    The rising cost of college has become a more popular and heated topic among Americans. The average tuition of a 4-year-undergraduate degree is about $19,000 per year, and is growing at a rate of about 2.6% per year. These rising costs are only contributing to another major problem in the US: Student Debt. This total is now in the trillions and with rising costs, it is only going to add up unless students find ways to cut the cost.

    I believe community college is the next best option in order to chase that degree. The costs are much lower than those of a 4 year college, as low as $3,500 a year. This is huge due to the fact that many degrees have a General Education requirement, which is usually what is done in students’ first 2 years of college. But taking the route of community college, students can cut costs while completing the same classes they would be taking at a 4 year institution. This is huge when you compare 2 year of university at around $38,000 to the costs of completing the same credits at a 2 year community college for around $7,000.

    Many students will end up taking out some type of loan that they will repay later in life, student debt. The costs are not going down anytime soon, so students must be smart in their decisions in order to limit their debt in some way. Community college is one great way to do this. Many colleges require General Education requirements and these usually take up the first 2 years of college. While these are necessary for higher education degrees, these same classes can be taken at a much lower rate at community colleges. By taking these 2 years at community college, students will graduate with a much lower cost.,students%20attending%20a%20public%20university.

  7. When I was applying for colleges, I originally applied to multiples schools in and out of Virginia. When it came time for me to choose which college to go to, I had two choices left. One was JMU and the other was a school out of state. One of the major influences on my choice was price. On average, out of state tuition is about $8,990 more than in state tuition. The idea of having less student debt was very appealing, and was a reason that I chose JMU over the other choice. This personal experience of mine leads me to believe that state schools are useful in containing college costs. For the great many of students, coming out of college they will have debt. Having the option of state schools that are less expensive for state residents gives many students the option to graduate from college and not have an excessive amount of debt. The average price for a four year state college is $9,410. Additionally, an in state school can allow some students to live at their home, which would further reduce costs as housing would not be needed. Some state schools also have a great program that allows for students to complete general education at the state college then transfer to their desired college for their last two years. This allows for students to massively reduce their college debt and focus on their major specific classes for the last two years. In the end, state colleges do help contain prices and allow for more students to graduate from college with less debt.

  8. Education has always played a big role in modern day society, but to what extent does higher education benefit GDP growth? People with a college education are expected to make 60% (WORLD DEVELOPMENT) more money over their lifetime. This is important when looking at GDP and comparing it to education level because the more money people make the better the economy will be, resulting in high sales numbers and an increase in GDP. Countries like Ethiopia, Mali, Niger and Pakistan all have very bad educational systems and their economy is taking a hit because of it. The neglect for good public education as well as higher education opportunities can be seen in the GDPs per capita; Ethiopias is $772.31, Mali is $899.66, Niger is $413.98, and Pakistans is $1482.40, compared to the United states $62,794.59 (WORLD DEVELOPMENT). GDP per capita is quite clearly lower in the less educated countries. There is no clear way of measuring the education levels of one area but Ethiopia, Mali, Niger and Pakistan are well known for not having a good public education system. These countries are far behind on GDP and education but improving education would help these countries immensely. As more complex instruments are invented a higher education will be needed to understand and use the items. It’s important for our society to have enough educated workers to fill crucial jobs. Our economy is only as strong as the skill of the labor force so having a big labor force with high skill (education) is important. Thinking about this it is important for economies that want to grow to educate a high percent of their population in higher education, it is also important that the skill level of these higher educated is increased at a productive rate. In countries like Germany where college is basically free, schools are not nearly as good as in the United States. This leads to their higher education workers to have lower skill than workers who get better education. In the United states 27% of the population has a bachelor’s degree, and in Germany 31% of young people will graduate from a higher education program. Although Germany has more people being educated their GDP per capita is $47,603.03 compared to the USA $62,794.59. This shows that not only does the number of people in higher education matter, but the level at which they are educated plays a big role too.

  9. Education is one part of what makes up human capital, and it’s been proven time and time again that human capital and economic growth have a strong positive correlation. All investment – such as higher education – tends to boost productivity, so a more educated worker will produce more output than a less educated one. Similarly, university growth is associated with a growth in GDP, with a 10% increase in university numbers equating to a 0.4% increase in GDP. This is not a number that should be downplayed. For example, using the U.S.’s GDP in 2018, which was 20.54 trillion USD, and using ceteris paribus, a 0.4% increase in GDP would make 2019’s GDP 20.62 trillion USD. That’s 8 billion dollars more that would be produced in a given year due solely to the university growth.

    Workers with higher education are known to have a higher income, as well, and consumers with higher income are more likely to consume more. In this way, higher education doesn’t affect only the output of the workers, but also the amount that is consumed. When more product is demanded, then most often, businesses will increase supply. This ripple effect will have great outcomes on the economy, strengthening it significantly.

    Additionally, higher education leads to more innovation and business ventures. Many college graduates have a higher sense of entrepreneurship that their high school graduate counterparts may not have due to the cultivation of the value in universities. Ninety percent of patent holders in the U.S. have at least a bachelor’s degree, many of those having even higher education, such as doctoral degrees. This increase in business ventures and innovation will greatly increase economic growth, because the more businesses and innovation that exist in the country, the more jobs that will be created and the more product that will be outputted.

    I believe that the financial burdens involved with higher education will negatively impact the economy if not solved due to the significant evidence of the positive correlation between higher education and economic growth, as outlined above. I don’t find much sense in charging so much for something that would help the economy so greatly.,workers%20have%20in%20an%20economy.,the%20typical%20college%20graduate%20earns.&text=In%202019%2C%20median%20income%20for,degree%20holders%20aged%2022%E2%80%9327.

  10. When I was looking at colleges about three or some years ago, there were a lot of things to consider. One of the biggest concerns to me and my parents was the expenses. Most people when they hear the word money and college together, they associate it with debt. Debt was a huge consideration when figuring out where to go for the next four years. I was fortunate enough that my parents have been building a 529 plan since I was a kid. A 529 plan is a plan where it’s offered in all states and is a system that allows for parents to deposit money each month over the year to save for child’s education after High School. There are hundreds of thousands of families that are able to give their children a great set up for after k-12 schooling. When looking for colleges, my 529 plan covered all tuitions in Virginia. However, the school of my dreams was out of state in North Carolina. I had a huge decision to make on my end. I could either go to my dream school in North Carolina and have to pay a massive debt after the four years or I could attend JMU with zero debt in the end. Although my dream school seemed worth the debt, financially I thought of my future. Would a recent out of college student want that debt over their shoulder? Probably not. Financially JMU was the better choice. My situation was a lucky one. There are over 45 million Americans that owe 1.6 trillion in debt. Student debt is a huge problem all over America today. Students that are not able to afford after college education are placed at a disadvantage. There are options that provide a less expensive plan; Community College. This although is not completely free, it allows students that do not want to be responsible for on average a 27,897-dollar debt after their four years. For some students, getting a better education is better in their eyes versus the money. Should money stand in the way of getting a higher education? I do not think it should. There are many Americans out there that would want to higher their education but cannot because money is the only factor. If that got taken out of the equation, there would be thousand more degrees.

  11. During my college application process, I was confined to look at pretty much only in-state schools, with the exception being Florida schools which offered a very similar tuition when compared to Virginia schools. This was due in part to the fact that college tuition has increased by about 37% nationwide over the last ten years. The percentage change in CPI for college tuition between 2003-2013 was 79.5%(!), and while I do think that college education is worth quite a lot, clearly shown by the 80% difference in salary between a college graduate and a high school graduate, the fact of the matter is that at this state in time, many people simply cannot expect or afford to get an education post high school due to the rising college tuition rates. Even including scholarships and grants, net costs have increased by an average of 24% in all 50 states. At a certain point, it begs the question of are these really public universities if average tuition is exceeding $20,000, which is almost 30% of the median household income?

    There are schools in-state, such as Northern Virginia Community College, which offer a much lower price of tuition when compared to other public in-state schools. NOVA, just like UVA, offers free online courses, such as the cloud computing class I took this summer, however, I would be shocked if these courses remain free in the long run, especially during a time in which the majority of classes are online as opposed to in person. As of now, these courses, and community colleges in general are a very solid alternative for those looking to both save money and get a college education.


  12. The price to pay for a college education is never cheap and puts many students into years of debt. Irregardless of this, state schools tend to be much cheaper than private schools. But how helpful are they in containing the cost of college? In general, state schools tend to be much more expensive than community college, and out of state schools are almost always the most expensive option. According to the U.S News & World Report, in 2020 the average cost of an in-state public school is $9,687 while the average cost of out-of-state public schools is $21,184. This dramatic difference shows the contrast between going out of state compared to in-state and why many students choose to stay in-state. Though this does seem much cheaper, college prices have been rising at a dramatic rate, increasing by 213% within the last thirty years according to CNBC. Although in-state tuition is cheaper, I do not think that in-state public schools do a good job containing college costs as the less expensive alternatives have shown. The average cost to go to community college in 2020 is $3,347, which is by far the cheapest option but also comes with drawbacks. When at community college you may have a much lighter workload with a limited curriculum. A majority of community colleges are two-year schools, making it so students are unable to obtain a four-year degree there, forcing them to transfer into a public college at some point. Community college may under-prepared for students going into a public university but is the only option for some because of the reduced prices. Although community colleges are a great option when it comes to saving money, in-state public colleges should be available to everyone, by having reduced prices. The unreasonable prices are further shown in the American Council of Trustees and Alumni with a recent study that uncovers college is unaffordable for 70% of working and middle-class students. In many European countries, a college education is completely free, which makes this issue seem all the more unjust when comparing it with education costs here in America. For JMU specifically, there is a way for them to cut costs for both out-of-state and in-state students. Buried in the student’s tuition is a $2,340 fee simply for underlying costs of the sports teams. This almost seems wrong considering that it’s only available to see by visiting and searching on the schools’ website, and does not show up on the tuition bill. In conclusion, In-state public schools do a better job of containing college costs that out-of-state schools do, but they need to be better, and this is apparent when looking at the information presented above.

  13. The large increase in cost of attending a 4 year university has become a serious problem for the young students of today. Since 1980 the demand for a college degree started to increase and so did its prices. According to usnews the average cost for tuitions and fees for the 2020-2021 school year for private colleges is $35,087, out of state public colleges costs $21,184, and in state public colleges costs $9,687. These costs are extremely high and hard to afford especially for young students without the financial support of their family. Even though many students can’t really afford it they take out large loans from the banks to pay for their education. These students plan on using their degree to find work and pay off their loans but the sad truth is that in today’s world a college degree doesn’t guarantee a job.
    With so many students taking out loans to pay for the extremely high prices of college has caused student loans to become the largest chunk of non housing debt in america today. In fact, according to Forbes magazine student loans in the United States have reached a height of 1.4 Trillion dollars. With the cost of attending college being at such high cost today it is important for students to better understand how to minimize their debt through their 4 years in school. To keep cost at a low it is important for students to utilize things like community college and instate tuition. By attending community college for 2 years students can save a tremendous amount of money and still be able to obtain the degree from the college they want after they finish their first 2 years. Other than attending a community college, by just attending an instate school you can save on average about $25,000 a year. Personally I did not make the smart financial choice and attend an instate school and the costs are extremely higher than what I would be paying for a school in New jersey. It is important for students to better understand the financial side of college and really take into account the opportunity cost of attending one school over another.

  14. [* Shield plugin marked this comment as “Trash”. Reason: Failed Bot Test (expired) *]
    In modern society, the importance of attending college is growing greater, however, it seems now that the select school one attends is less important than it used to be. It is no surprise that a graduate of higher education will earn on average a salary 80% higher than a high school graduate. This is what makes a college degree so attractive. Many people believe that going to a private institution or an Ivy League school the only option when choosing a college because a student of one of these institutions will receive higher pay out of school. This view is not confirmed by real data. The Quarterly Journal of Economics published that the salary difference between private and public colleges is “indistinguishable”. This was important information to me while I was choosing which school I would attend. There are many factors to consider while looking for the right college. When I was applying to schools, I was interested in not only the education, but also the campus, location, opportunities provided, organizations, student life, etc. Many of the schools I found interest in happened to be private universities. I found that the private schools tended to be more individually focused on the students and seemed to provide more unique opportunities. I think that this is the main reason why many students pay a substantial cost to attend these colleges. In addition, there is a “name brand” expectation for the level of education received at private institutions. However, the more highly accredited universities do not necessarily provide a better education. Additionally, private institutions often provide better financial aid packages, which is extremely attractive when facing the high costs of private colleges. Overall, many students choose to pay more to go to these schools for the experience and the “name brand” accreditation even though the long term financial benefits are negligible.


  15. I am from Maryland so I chose to go to an out-of-state school. This may not have been the smartest decision to make considering my goal is to become an elementary education teacher. In 2018 the average elementary education teacher made $58,230. This may seem like a decent amount but the fact is, when I graduate I will most likely be making less than that because that is not the average starting salary. One of my biggest issues with the rising costs in higher education is the fact that I am forced to take numerous classes that have no correlation with my major. At the time I enrolled here, JMU also said I have to stay a fifth year to earn my Masters, otherwise I would be graduating without a teaching degree. I do not believe I need five years to learn how to become a teacher and I think we need to create a plan that cuts down the amount of general education courses the institutions require us to take in order for them to make more money. According to a July 17 report done by Complete College America, a student who obtains a two-year associate’s degree typically completed an excess of 22 credits. That is thousands of dollars for classes that were not a necessity to their specific field. About 40 percent of undergraduates in the U.S are students who attend community colleges. People make this choice in order to save money but in reality, they are still being scammed. These students are not the only ones being affected either. Taxpayers suffer additional costs as well due to the fact that about 60 percent of community college budgets are subsidized by local and state governments. One study by the Greater Texas Foundation discovered that excess credits cost the students and taxpayers around $120 million annually in that state. I personally had to enroll in unnecessary credits myself over this winter break because I have met all of my graduation requirements except the amount of credits JMU requires. I had taken and passed every course I needed to move on to my Masters degree, yet I still had to enroll in something completely unrelated to my future career. What is the reasoning for this? Do they believe this random class will actually benefit me? Or is to create more revenue for the institution? You may recall Bernie Sanders promising us a free education which I never saw plausible considering the amount of money it takes to keep an institution running. The technology, the professors, the tools, and everything else a higher educational institution offers does not come free. So although free college may not be a possibility, I do think we need to create a plan to cut down the costs immensely so that young adults are not coming out of school with loads of debt. President-elect Biden claims he has plans to diminish undergraduate federal student loans. Hopefully he is able to follow through with his plan so that students are not graduating feeling helpless as the cost of higher education rises. One thing that could possibly benefit me is his plan to provide loan forgiveness to public servants, which includes teachers. He states that he will provide $10,000 of undergraduate or graduate student debt relief for every year of national or community service, up to five years. How soon will this come into effect and if it even will is all up in the air but no matter what, something must be done to create a more reasonable cost of higher education.

  16. [* Shield plugin marked this comment as “Trash”. Reason: Failed Bot Test (expired) *]
    When the COVID-19 pandemic began, many students from my high school decided that it would be financially better if they stayed at home and took courses at the local community college. They were concerned about having to pay for online courses at universities and took into account that it would cost less for them to attend classes through the community college. This was also something that I was forced to consider, which made financial planning more difficult because I had a hard time deciding what was best for me. However, a recent budget cut in Virginia caused the funding for community college students to decline dramatically. The Governor proposed that because so many universities have transferred courses online, the school should gain the money that they have lost due to so many students staying at home or switching to a community college. The program that financially aids community college students lost $71 million due to these factors, which is a shame because of the amount of people that decided to stay local in order to save money. Many of my high school peers could not attend a university simply because it was too expensive, and they needed financial aid in order to go to community college. I feel that (minus the pandemic) state schools make it easier for students to contain college costs, especially if they want to transfer to a university in the future. This could potentially reduce the risk of having debt after college, which many students face and take years to pay off.

  17. While considering your plans for education after highschool, families usually always consider the costs. My family and I also had this tough, internal battle about my future school endeavours because of the fear of debt to come. According to Business Insider, the average student graduating from a public university is “roughly $25,000” in debt, which results in long-term financial struggles. Universities are businesses; they thrive on raising costs of funds and fees, due to the fact that states have funding cuts for numerous reasons. Statistically, tuition has risen 3% every year which continues to increase the national student debt amount to $1.5 million. On the other hand, community colleges have helped families and students with their financial situations. In 38 states, the tuition of community college is less than half the cost of a public four-year institution. Community and state colleges are the most cost-efficient form of higher education, in comparison to other private and public four years. Especially, while in the midst of a global pandemic, public universities are expecting students and the families of students to pay full cost of attendance, while most campuses are partially or completely online. All in all, a higher education can easily be one of the most expensive purchases of a student’s life, yet each year it continues to grow higher, ultimately setting students up with an unnecessary amount of debt.

  18. Students pay so much more to attend certain non-profit private universities because the title some universities carry. After graduating from a university and seeking employment in the workforce, there is competition against others to find employment. Some students may think that applying and attending private universities may higher their chances of bettering their career in the future. According to The Atlantic, students pay for “prestige” at a private college. After conducting a list of the top ten colleges in the world, eight of the colleges are in the U.S. The list included Harvard, MIT, and Stanford, the undergraduate cost in the 2018-19 school year was $76,650, $70,240, and $71,587. It is no secret that this is a lot of money to invest in education when there are other academic options to choose from. If grasping the idea of spending that much money on education isn’t hard to understand then consider how many times people have purchased something based on the “brand” status. Brand is a major reason why people make purchases from certain stores. A study found that there were 19.6 million college students in the U.S. in 2018, and of those 19.6 million college students, 5.1 million students were enrolled in private colleges. That means around roughly 26 percent of college students attend a private college. Obviously 26 percent isn’t the majority, though, that is still a significant amount of students paying for a very expensive education when they could have gotten an “average” education like the other 74 percent of students in the U.S. I think students pay the extreme amounts for private colleges because they want an exceptional education rather than an “average” education. Students that decide to go to private institutions and spend expensive amounts of money on academics are competitive and driven students that don’t take any form of what they are trying to accomplish in 4 plus years lightly. The main purpose of those private colleges is to push the limits of academics to the point that only the elite can handle.

    Duffin, Published by Erin, and Nov 5. “U.S. Number of College Students 1965-2020.” Statista. 05 Nov. 2020. Web. 18 Nov. 2020.

    Wong, Alia. “At Private Colleges, Students Pay for Prestige.” 21 Sept. 2018. Web. 18 Nov. 2020.

  19. When I was applying to Colleges during my Senior year I was looking into many Colleges in Virginia because the cost was less of a burden in the future. I was thinking of going to school in Florida but, for example according to the collegetuitioncompare website the average cost for out of state students in Florida is around $17,692, whereas my in-state Virginia schools were far less cheap. I honestly think that state schools and community colleges are doing a pretty good job in containing College costs, for example NOVA is a community college in Northern Virginia that many people see as an alternative to save money than spending all four years at a 4-year college. According to the NOVA website, the average cost per credit hour is $185 whereas at JMU it is around $409. Yes, a 4-year university sounds like the better option ultimately because it is better funded and the education is better, but now during times like these during COVID where everything is online anyways, NOVA is a great way to save money in the long run, and honestly should’ve been something I did in order to save money on my classes. Also, if I had chosen to go to NOVA for my first two years, I don’t think I would’ve had to have taken student loans out like I did attending JMU. The only reason I mainly did not even think about going to a community college because where I am from, going to a community college rather than a 4-year university is sort of shunned upon and has a bad rep. According to an article written by StudentLoanHero, the average debt at graduation was 29,900 in 2019. I will be one of those probably in that pool since I don’t work at the moment and when I get out of school, I probably won’t have that type of money. But it is definitely much better than the amount of money an out of state student would pay for. Ultimately, I think that state schools are helpful in containing college costs because they receive state and federal funding which then lower the college cost as a whole. Also, there are alternatives like community colleges in which aid the costs being lower after receiving your University diploma.

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    Deciding which college I would attend in the midst of a pandemic was not my ideal vision. I had plenty of opportunities in and out of state, in fact I was leaning more towards out state. I believe that some colleges, at least in VA, do a good job at containing costs, but only for specific students. I am a student that requires financial aid and an out-of-state school gave me more money than the schools that were in my state. When looking at this I wondered, well why don’t I just go to the school that gave me more money? I realized that college is sort of a barter. I provide my money to a specific school and in return I get a degree and hopefully a good life in the future. I also realize that it is a major risk. When looking at the cost of attendance for the colleges, I saw that even though the school that gave me the most money was out-of-state, I would still be paying double of what I would be for an in-state school, and most of the money I was getting in financial aid were loans which would put me in greater debt. In Virginia alone, the cost of attendance has increased by 55.7%, with a record breaking 1.6 trillion student loan debt and the cost of living rising as well according to the CNBC graphs. So, I can’t say that schools are doing a great job containing costs. This makes students turn to community colleges or other options. I believe that because the cost of public or private schools are rising that no matter what, community college is looking like the better option, even if their prices are going up regularly as well, according to a USNews article. USNews, had great points about the facts of out-of-state schools, by saying how schools are more likely to not give out-of-state students money because they want more money in return. But on the other hand, if an out-of-state school grants me more financial aid then I will be more willing to go, like I said its risky. So, I believe that state schools are somewhat helpful in containing costs when it comes to providing specific students with aid, but they are not good at containing costs when people would rather go to a community college because the numbers continue to rise.

    1. (I don’t know why only my sources uploaded)

      Deciding which college I would attend in the midst of a pandemic was not my ideal vision. I had plenty of opportunities in and out of state, in fact I was leaning more towards out state. I believe that some colleges, at least in VA, do a good job at containing costs, but only for specific students. I am a student that requires financial aid and an out-of-state school gave me more money than the schools that were in my state. When looking at this I wondered, well why don’t I just go to the school that gave me more money? I realized that college is sort of a barter. I provide my money to a specific school and in return I get a degree and hopefully a good life in the future. I also realize that it is a major risk. When looking at the cost of attendance for the colleges, I saw that even though the school that gave me the most money was out-of-state, I would still be paying double of what I would be for an in-state school, and most of the money I was getting in financial aid were loans which would put me in greater debt. In Virginia alone, the cost of attendance has increased by 55.7%, with a record breaking 1.6 trillion student loan debt and the cost of living rising as well according to the CNBC graphs. So, I can’t say that schools are doing a great job containing costs. This makes students turn to community colleges or other options. I believe that because the cost of public or private schools are rising that no matter what, community college is looking like the better option, even if their prices are going up regularly as well, according to a USNews article. USNews, had great points about the facts of out-of-state schools, by saying how schools are more likely to not give out-of-state students money because they want more money in return. But on the other hand, if an out-of-state school grants me more financial aid then I will be more willing to go, like I said its risky. So, I believe that state schools are somewhat helpful in containing costs when it comes to providing specific students with aid, but they are not good at containing costs when people would rather go to a community college because the numbers continue to rise.

  21. In America, it is often thought that highly expensive and prestigious schools are far superior to their cheaper, and less known counterparts. All that extra money it takes to attend Columbia or Brown University must buy something, right? In some cases, that assumption is correct. Students at higher-ranked colleges earn more than their colleagues from mid and lower-ranked colleges later in their career, though this statistic can be misleading. For some majors, like business, on paper prestige often does matter, with a noticeable discrepancy between graduates at differing levels. With other more uniform majors with less variance in their curriculum, however, this clear cut advantage nearly disappears. Still, though, there is more to this question. There are many other factors that can influence the earnings of a college graduate in their career, past the logo on their diploma. Graduate school students are on track to make far more than their bachelor level peers. In 2013, the median annual wage for a full-time worker with a master’s degree was $68,000, a figure far greater than the $56,000 median annual wage for workers with only a bachelor’s. This discrepancy is relevant to the question on the worth of more expensive and prestigious schools, as a student attending a higher ranked university is more likely to pursue a graduate degree than a student at a mid or lower-ranked school. There are even more factors to explain the return on the high-cost schools though. For many students, their first jobs coming out of college, and even many of the jobs after are found through their college, whether that be directly, through a school-sponsored internship program, or indirectly, through the networking students do over the course of their education. Individuals at more expensive schools often have far greater opportunities, and can much more regularly find higher-paying jobs. If that wasn’t enough, those more expensive schools boast a higher rate of graduation overall, and a higher rate of graduation in the traditional four-year span that many students strive for, meaning more time spent earning, and less time and money spent in school. So there are seemingly many compelling advantages to more expensive schools, even though for many students and their families, this means taking on higher levels of debt than would be required for something like a public state school. The allure of expensive, private universities is real, and it has evidence to back it up, but ultimately, the choice on whether it’s all worth it comes down to each individual student. For well-off families with lots of connections, those costly colleges make total sense, and it’s still absolutely reasonable for mid and lower-income students to strive for those same institutions. Do students flock to pricey universities because of the social status they provide? Yes, absolutely, but that does not mean that there aren’t deeper, more quantitative reasons. Expensive colleges in America have been around for a long time, for good reason, and students don’t show any signs of changing that soon.,peers%20at%20lower%2Dranked%20schools.&text=Ten%20years%20out%2C%20those%20who,went%20to%20less%20selective%20schools.,all%20workers%20earn%20a%20premium.

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    I find that as annual tuition costs for university-level programs rise above $23,872 on average, as per the Department of Education, state colleges provide some relief in overall college expenses but there are lacking parts in the community college system for certain degree or career pursuits. The reduction in price of university as a result of in-state tuition policies has helped keep student debt down despite the continuous rising of both in-state and out-of-state prices throughout the years. The main problem that has occurred with university prices is the fact that, according to an article in Forbes, tuition prices have increased by more than eight times that of wages. Part of the reason for this phenomenon however, is the proliferation of high-cost private universities. Many students study at these higher-cost universities in order to receive added benefit from either institutional prestige or high institutional esteem in a specific specialization. So while overall tuition prices have increased tremendously, some of that increase in cost is a result of more students opting for expensive private schools. Through policy involving forgiving some student debt and providing larger state grants to state schools to lower their price, state schools will become even more attractive price-wise and will ultimately help in lowering average student debt by completion of 4-year programs. Alongside relief to students and further subsidizing of state schools, expansion of community colleges to include more educational pursuits would further reduce student debt. By improving these programs, more people will be able to take community college courses then subsequently transfer to university to finish their degree. Ultimately, this results in a further reduction in student debt.

  23. I grew up with the understanding that going to college was going to be a burden that I undertook myself. As with many undergraduate students, price was a significant factor in my decision making process. It was the reason I went in state, and it did help in my decision to come to JMU. However, as college tuition continues to rise the struggle to put myself through school has increased, and I can only imagine the burden for people who chose to go out of state. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education there are two schools of thought regarding rising tuition. The first is dubbed “the Bennett hypothesis” it posits that increasing grands and federal aid increases the demand for college education, thereby giving colleges more leeway in raising the costs. The other is called the spending constraint model, which we touched on briefly in class. It states that rising tuition directly stems from lower state aid from taxes. This model follows a trend in data over the last decade, or so. Essentially, in the wake of the Great Recession state governments across the country were pressured to cut spending. This came at the cost of state money to public universities. State funding is not the only way that the Great Recession is impacting college tuition costs. Forbes reported that over the last 10 years virtually every humanities major saw enrollment decline. This is likely due to this generation placing an extreme importance on job security, after having vivid memories of the strain that the 2008 crash placed on families. Personally, I was always told that a liberal arts degree was about as effective as asking “do you want fries with that,” and that fear of job security had a major impact on the major I chose, as I’m sure is the case for many other students. But how does that have any bearing on the rise in tuition? If tuition is primarily influenced by lower state funding over the years how do higher STEM enrollment numbers make a difference? As enrollment increases in STEM majors the need for additional funding shifts to those departments. And there are some schools that having trouble adjusting to that shift. According to Forbes, there are some universities that are proposing tuition freezes for students enrolled in majors that will create the greatest yield for the state. These majors would be those labeled as “high-skill, high-wage, high-demand” and programs that didn’t meet those criteria, like anthropology and history would be subject to rising costs. For now, this is only being proposed in schools that cannot make ends meet through state funding. But as the damaging rhetoric about the humanities continues to grow, the need to fund programs that have higher enrollment will continue to put strain on public universities and may increase the popularity of this “differentiated tuition” model.

  24. Students today have been led to believe that the only way to be successful in life is to attend college and get a college degree, which is inherently false. With parents pushing for their children to attend college and the view that if someone does not attend college they have failed, it pushes students to believe college is their only option. While there is no doubt that having a college degree is very helpful for finding higher-paying jobs, however, there are more options. Today with so many people attending college it is diminishing the overall importance of a college degree when comparing between people while increasing the importance of trades work. For example, electricians are so undervalued in America currently that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that for every 7,000 new electricians, another 10,000 retire. After just 4 years of training the average entry-level electrician is making as much or more than an entry-level position for the average college graduate in America, and with more experienced electricians easily making over 100,000 a year. With a significantly lower entry cost and requirements to become an electrician, it means the average electrician receives a much greater return than that of the average college student today in America. Society has taught students to overvalue college as a requirement for success causing students to take on debt they might not have needed because the student is taught that they need to attend college to become successful. It is important for people not to view college as their only option when planning for after high school.


  25. The problem with higher and higher costs associated with higher education concern a plethora of different follies and redundancies, riddling institutions. Now, I should not be as harsh as my words may implicate. Going to College has seemed like a right of passage for the populous American youth in modern day. Since the start of the 1960’s; according to Mr. Peter Schiff as referenced on Joe Rogan Podcast #1508, since that era subsequently after the golden age of US industrialism , is when market makers decided to start selling the idea of a College Tuition as equivocal to the American Dream it is quite shameful.
    When things had originally started off after the G.I. Bill and it’s contents paved the way for a brand new generation of young people to attend school based off of their parents benefits obtained through their Military service. These fortunate sons were the Baby Boomer Generation, and from then on College education was heralded as an essential necessity to having the ideal American lifestyle. Fast forward another 20 years after the conclusion of World War II and Lyndon B. Johnson had passed the Higher Education Act of 1965. Therefore giving direct authorization to the Federal Government to exercise debt obligations upon these unsuspecting students for the next several decades to come. This decision effectively created a unilateral system of lending US secured debt to students and carving out a massive chunk of the succeeding US national deficit. Without mention, Joe Biden has proposed in recent times to erase student loan with a such a generous offering of up to $10,000 in debt relief for all students who are financially drained from these astonishingly high interest loans from the Federal Government. It makes you think what might he do about letting foreign scholars to study in the USA who have F1 or J1 visas and/or are authorized to by DACA. I’m not sure where we go from Biden’s relief plan and how it may impact the dollar.

    Rogan, Joe. “Joe Rogan Experience Episode #1508 – Peter Schiff.”,, 15 July 2020, Accessed 19 Nov. 2020.

    Pallardy, Richard. “History of Student Loans: Origins.”,, 26 Oct. 2020,

  26. During high school I was set on playing soccer in college and was recruited to play at Lynchburg College. During the first few weeks of my freshman year I quickly realized that Lynchburg was not for me. While I only attended the institution for two semesters before transferring to JMU, I feel that my experience gives me a unique perspective on why I believe students pay more to attend non profit private universities.
    While not for me, I can understand the appeal for attending a private institution rather than a public one. For starters, the smaller size of private universities can be appealing to individuals interested in smaller classes, more of a connection with professors, or who want a more close-knit community and college experience. I definitely noticed the smaller aspects of attending a smaller university; I was able to meet with my professors often, I did not feel pressured when asking questions I had during lectures, and I felt I knew everyone on campus. This however, was one of the main reasons I decided to transfer schools. I wanted a more diverse environment where I wouldn’t see the same faces everyday. Another compelling reason I believe individuals choose to attend private institutions rather than public is the ability for students to learn an environment that aligns with their religious or political beliefs. In fact of out of the 2672 private universities in the United States, according to UniRank, the “total number of Universities and Colleges with religious affiliation is 1706.” While not all of the students attending these private universities are not necessarily religious, a large number of them may be.
    While many individuals are not willing to pay a substantially greater amount of money to attend college, it is clear a decent percentage of students are. Whether it be because of religious beliefs, the need for extra attention in the classroom, or an individual simply does not want to be in a large environment, I feel that students that are willing to pay so much more for their college education because they find appeal in one or more of these aspects that private universities can provide.

  27. Forgot sources for post:

    College debt is a massive issue that multiple generations have to tackle. 2019 graduates took an average of a 30,062 dollar loan to pay for college. That number might be small for someone working a full-time job and is nearing the top of their pay scale, but it is a massive amount for a fresh college graduate. 65% of 2019 graduates took a loan to pay for college, meaning that a majority of students come out with at least 20,000 dollars in debt. Most parents are forced to take parent plus loans, which can have an interest rate as high as 8.5% a year. A parent plus loan can double in 8.5 years if the rate is 8.5% by the rule of 72. That amount of money can be challenging for some families to come up with to send their children to college. This can be addressed by state schools and the value they give. The average cost per credit was 135 dollars at a community college compared to 325 at a four-year institution. The difference is a massive 140.74% jump in price from a two-year to a four-year college. State schools are also a great value in comparison to an out of state private college. It is 28,426 dollars to attend JMU instate for 2020-2021. It is 45,454 dollars to attend from out of state. It is a 59.9% difference between the two making it an obvious choice to stay instate for undergrad due to the cost-saving. State schools provide excellent value for the money and make it less necessary to take a college loan. State schools can also take parent plus loans out of the question for some, avoiding the average interest rate of 7% and the 4% fee from the government for packaging the loan. Going to a state school with community college classes taken in high school or the summer provides a great return on your investment and helps to keep costs down.

  28. When it comes to choosing whether you would benefit more from going to a private or public university, there are a lot of factors to consider. A major key factor that students who are applying to colleges look at is tuition costs. State colleges tend to be cheaper because they are funded by taxes paid by residents of the state, resulting in students having to pay less to attend these schools. Private universities are more expensive because they receive no money from the state which means that the student would have to pay the full amount to attend a private university. You might be asking yourself why someone would want to pay more to go to a private university and here is why. The class sizes at state universities are often larger because more people are able to afford the cheaper education. Classes at state universities can have up to 200 people or more in one class and to most people, this is not ideal for them to get the education they need. A lot of students would find it easier to learn in a smaller class setting which is what is offered at the majority of private schools. The benefits of have small classes include having more one on one time with your professors as well as your professors being able to put more time into just you as a student, considering that they have less students to worry about. Classes with less amounts of people tend to have better discussions because everyone is able to speak their mind instead of fighting for the chance to speak up in a discussion with 200 people in it. A lot of students also feel more comfortable in classes where they can have a closer relationship with their professors and have one on one time to discuss any problems they are struggling with in that professor’s class. Another factor that plays into why people decide that the price of private colleges are worth it is demographics. Private universities tend to have a more diverse population because they attract people from all around the world, while state universities tend to mainly attract people from that certain state because of lower costs. People tend to pay more for private colleges because the main focus is just on academics whereas state colleges focus on academics as well as partying and Greek life. A lot of people who can afford private college and want a better education choose to go one because there are a lot less distractions that could cause them to perform less in academics. However, the major factor is graduating because about 51.3 percent graduate on time compared to the 45.4 percent of public university students. Graduating on time can put you ahead on opportunities especially with having the access to highly successful alumni networks to help secure a job. However, this huge tuition gap does not lead to a huge salary gap making you question if it is really worth it. This goes to show that people choose to go to private universities for their own preference on how they like to learn in a certain class setting as well as what they can afford when it comes to education.

  29. Through the process of finding a college that I wanted to attend I stated by looking at in state schools in North Carolina . I was also getting recruited by Randolph-Macon College and RandolphCollege to play basketball. Then my mom and sister suggested for me to look at JMU and once I did I loved it and saw myself there. The only problem was it was out of state and more expensive. Private schools in recent years have been very popular due to the fact that class sizes are smaller, even though tuition prices are higher for those that can afford it it allows them the luxury of better access to professors if they need help. UNlike large public universities, it offers a potentially cheaper option for students that do not want the financial burden of an expensive private education. The drawbacks are larger class size and less accessibility to one-on-one instruction. With a public school education you also get a better campus life and more activities going on around campus for you to participate in. Public universities also have more diversity and people from all different types of backgrounds. The private universities that I looked at were more expensive and out of state public school which is hard to believe for me. Private schools do have higher graduation rates which is very important. Attending a private college also gives you a chance at a higher salary and is a more marketable degree. At the end of the day it comes down to what you want in your college experience and how you learn best.

  30. Throughout my college process I applied to many in and out of state schools. The discrepancy in price between in and out of state schools is so large that ultimately, I decided to stay in state. Being a Virginian I am very blessed with the options of all the great in state schools, however not everyone has this luxury. Education is likely the second largest expense one will make in a lifetime after a home. School tuition has not always been this expensive, however. In the past decade more of the cost have been pushed onto the students due to cuts in state funding. In 2008, state funding for public universities was about six and a half billion dollars more (adjusted for inflation). With an increasing percentage of university revenue coming from tuition, students will pay more and have more student debt. As of 2018 America’s student debt was approximately 1.6 trillion dollars with the average senior graduating thirty-thousand dollars in debt. This is nothing to scoff at as many students struggle to pay their debt off for a very long time. The Department of Education has reported that students with a debt ranging twenty to forty thousand dollars will take around 20 years to pay off. So, for students who graduate at 22 they will still be paying off their loans into their forties! Bringing this back to my decision to stay in state, it is very easy to see how student debt has a long-lasting impact way after college. For me it was very easy to make the decision to stay in state due to it costing nearly half in tuition and being able to lighten that burden off myself and my parents.

  31. When I applied for colleges in my senior year of high school, I applied to both in-state and out-of-state colleges. I really wanted to go out of my comfort zone and go to a college that was far away from my hometown because that was where I had lived throughout my whole life, so going somewhere new intrigued me. When I saw the difference in tuition costs for in-state and out-of-state, it was mindblowing to see how expensive out-of-state tuition was. For example, I really wanted to attend the University of California Los Angeles, but the out-of-state tuition costs around $40,000 compared to their in-state tuition which was only $13,000. This shows that colleges do not do a great job when it comes to handling and containing college costs. I believe that in-state colleges and community colleges are a better option when it comes to education because not only is it cheaper, but they also offer the same amount of education and in the end, if you work hard enough, you get a degree either way. Some students pay more money just because of the college’s name and in my opinion, I don’t think that there’s any outstanding benefit because college is expensive and not only do students have to pay for tuition but the textbook fees and general living expenses too.
    Because of the pandemic, students are mostly taking online classes without being on campus, which defeats the purpose of paying for tuition because they are not getting the full experience, but is still being forced to pay thousands of dollars. This is why currently, community colleges and state colleges are a better choice.

  32. While public funding for higher education has undoubtedly decreased the cost of attending a state college or university, the current system is enabling the institutions that benefit from government assistance to trend towards practices that do not reduce the cost of tuition for students in need. The commonly posited argument claims that public spending on higher education has gone down in recent years due to the Great Recession, resulting in the cost of education to increase for students. While true on its face, this conclusion lacks nuance. State spending towards public education decreased due to the Great Recession as many states attempted to cope with the economic strain but the federal government expanded their assistance program to compensate for the loss of money allocated by the states’ budgets ( Furthermore, despite state appropriations decreasing due to the recession, state spending on higher education (adjusted for inflation) has almost doubled from 1975 to 2015. While public appropriations for higher education continued to grow, the cost of attending college or university nonetheless increased over the years, counterintuitive to the intention of government involvement in funding higher education (NY The increase in tuition at public schools despite increased public funding indicates a deeper problem within colleges and universities themselves as the states and federal government have both maintained public assistance for state colleges and universities that is consistent with the economic and political trends of the country. Specifically, focus on the fact that colleges had no issues with their increasingly bloated budgets year after year until economic crisis struck and state governments subsequently reduced funding of public higher education, which is a reasonable thing to do if the money is not there or is needed in other areas of the state budget. The deeper issue lies in how public college and university administrations treated government assistance as the programs from which they benefited expanded over the years, not in the eventual cut to public spending in higher education itself. Administrations knew they could rely on public funding, sometimes even an increase, so they accordingly expanded their universities’ operations to attract more intellectual talent and increase the number of students enrolled. Expansions came in the form of non-essential student services and other facilities that students at university enjoy today but these additional services come with an increase in operating costs (The The additional operating costs incurred sat comfortably within the budget when state government assistance continued to roll in, but once public funding was partially cut administrators realized the business model of providing services beyond education at university was essentially subsidized by the government at the cost they were charging students to attend prior to the recession. In response, administrations abandoned any previous effort in making a college education affordable or effective by shifting the additional costs to students and cutting back on their academic programs while maintaining the non-essential services previously provided ( The services beyond education meant to attract students that persist at universities post-recession make up the bulk of what the public considers the “excess costs” of tuition. The intention of government assistance in higher education is to expand access to education and develop the human capital within the country, but the current system allows for university administrations to utilize public funds for purposes that do not directly align with the original aim of any legislation created to publicly fund higher education. Publicly funded institutions of higher education operate less like an inherently public good and employ the methods of a private business to maintain their viability while the public’s tax dollars sustain an institution that is shifting to competitive business strategies that hinder the actualization of the intended public good. Ideally, the existing system should be modified to ensure public funds contribute solely to ensuring greater accessibility to higher education while allowing the benefiting universities to operate within the free market as they have.


  33. I am going to modify one of the questions. Instead of explaining the evidence for higher education’s affects on macroeconomics, I am instead going to ask if too much tax spending is being allocated to higher education. I feel as this is a question that I can answer with an opinion instead of only using hard facts.

    Through my research for the former question, I kept coming across that overall higher education has little substantial evidence to show an overall growth to the economy, no more than continued education from lower education (Hanushek, 1). If this is the case, why should our taxes be used to aid in the funding of colleges? If the benefit from this is seemingly marginal at best, it appears an expensive use of taxpayer money that could go to other sectors that could stimulate the economy. Plus, the majority of job skills are learned on the job (Hanushek, 2), so all of this seems a bit of a waste, yet another hurdle to overcome to appear more hirable to employers. However, there is a caveat to this. While overall higher education has seemingly no substantial increase in economic growth, the quality of education is crucial. If the quality is accounted for, there is a strong correlation between higher education and economic growth (Hanushek and Woessmann, 1). This leads me to believe that it is important for the continued funding of higher education as the more financially capable those institutions are the more they can gain human capital through the employees and teachers they hire. And in doing so, increase the quality of education they provide. Additionally, the funding allows for more students to acquire this knowledge as tuition rates decrease; thus, broadening the human capital across the population allowing for businesses to benefit from the more available access to valuable input (Hanushek and Woessmann, 2). So in conclusion, funding higher education can be a great way of stimulating long-term growth in a country if the education is quality and properly taught.

    Hanushek, Eric – Will more higher education improve economic growth?
    Hanushek, Eric and Woessmann, Ludger – Education, knowledge capital, and economic growth

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