ECON200-Blog Topic: Macroeconomics and Education (S21)

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?

57 thoughts on “ECON200-Blog Topic: Macroeconomics and Education (S21)”

  1. Before we can answer the question about how to stop the extreme rise of college tuition, we need to first look at the root of the problem and determine why college tuition is rising at such a significant rate. The truth is, there is no one cost as to why tuition is inflating, but as with anything, there are many reasons.
    Firstly, there is the notion of supply and demand. This is a very simple concept but has a huge effect on college prices today. According to a research brief from the College Board Research (, applications for college have increase across the board, with some of the most competitive schools seeing as much as an 81% increase in applications between 2002 and 2012. Some of these schools accept as little as 1/3 of their applicants. All these applicants are people willing to pay the tuition money, which gives the colleges the ability to up the tuition cost, because they know there will still be plenty of applicants willing and able to pay it.
    Secondly, there is the issue of government involvement. A large part of the reason most college students (especially lower-middle class students) can afford college is federal student loans. According to an article from ( From 1986 to 2008, the maximum allowed federal student loans has increased from $2500 a year to about $7500 a year. This shows that the amount people can pay for college has increased quite a bit over time. As you can see, this quickly turns into a chicken-egg scenario. Are college prices rising because people can pay more? Or are the loan limits being increased to meet the rising college tuition?
    So, how can we tackle this problem now that we know what it is? Unfortunately, this is also not an easy answer. One of the major ideas I have heard about is “free” college education. The word “free” has never been used in a more misleading way.
    Take this for example. You walk past a restaurant and see a sign outside that says, “buy one burger for twice the cost and get a second burger free!” It does not take a genius to work out you are simply paying double for one burger to make up for the “free” burger they are giving you. This same scenario is how free college tuition would work, except your “one burger” is income tax, and your “second burger” is college education. the only difference between “free” college, and what we have today is through what medium the money is paid.
    This “free” system would create a large issue regarding actual cost. Let us say that we adopt this system today. UVAs in state tuition is $17,798. This would mean the government will be paying the difference. What is to stop UVA from going to the federal government in a couple years and saying it cost now $25,000 per student, what about $30,000? $50,000? There is nothing stopping them from saying this, and the government would have to pay. Well, where is the government getting the money from? Why the US taxpayers of course. As you can see, there is nothing to stop a hyperinflation of costs that will simply just drain the American taxpayer.
    If you think this has not happened before, or it could not happen, think again. In 2018, the US Airforce financial reports had shown that they had spent purchased over $300,000 in “hot cups” with each one coming in at $1280. These cups were designed as a coffee cup, that for no real reason costs $1280. ( This is a classic example of government spending being a lot more than it needs to be. To think this could not or would not happen in a “free” college system is a bad assumption to make. Overall, Free college is not a system that will work.

  2. I believe that attending college is something important that everyone should consider. It is not only for the education aspect but also for building an individual’s social, and interpersonal skills. I understand college is not for everyone or a necessity for someone to live a good life and the increasing prices may steer away many from attending a college, but can going to college be worth it? Can there be a bigger pay off for the individual and for the economy if more students attended college? The United States undergraduate and graduate student debt stands at an alarming $1.5 trillion, and is viewed to continue to increase. Thus, the decision to attend is not an easy one to make for individuals who struggle with the financial aspect.
    The instate tuition at JMU from when my older sister first began attending in 2014 was $9,662, and has increased to $12,206 from when I first began attending the university in 2019. The out of state tuition to attend JMU increased from $24,522 in 2014, to $29,106 in 2019. There are only about 42% of students attending a public 4-year university and finishing with a bachelor’s degree who will graduate with no debt. The 58% of students who will graduate with debt can expect to have an average of $25,921 by graduation. Is obtaining this much debt by graduation in our early twenties and possibly more even worth it? In 2019, The American Action Forum conducted a study where they compiled data from 2007 to 2017 from all 50 states and the District of Columbia to compare wage, employment, and real GDP growth based on the different levels of education individuals earn. The results showed that someone who earned a bachelor’s degree is 12.96% more likely to get employed than someone who only has a high school diploma or GED. When reviewing wages it shows that someone with a bachelor’s degree will earn up to 44.67% more than someone with only a high school diploma. If an individual chooses to earn their masters then they will earn up to 63.62% more than a high school graduate. What does this mean for our economic growth if more highschoolers see this data and decide to attend a 4-year public university? This means that if every state increased their bachelor degree graduates by just 1%, the state’s real GDP growth rate would increase by 0.08%. This would then result in the United States economic growth to increase by around $130.5 billion.
    After researching, I am even happier with my decision to attend JMU for a higher level of education. Unfortunately, the issue with rising costs of higher education is projected to continue to increase. The cost of instate tuition at JMU for my little sister, if she were to attend here, will be up to $14,645 in 2024. However, attending a 4-year public university to earn at least a bachelor’s degree is proven to pay off in the future and is something everyone should consider.

    Student Debt: What is the typical debt load for graduates of four-year public universities?
    The Economic Benefits of Educational Attainment – AAF
    Tuition and Fees Trends at James Madison University,debt%20at%20graduation%20is%20%2416%2C300.&text=To%20put%20that%20amount%20of,the%20average%20high%20school%20graduate,GED%2Fhigh%2Dschool%20diploma.&text=The%20real%20GDP%20growth%20rate%20for%202018%20was%202.9%20percent,have%20been%20about%202.98%20percent

  3. College was always something I was going to attend during my life at some point. When I was born back in 2001, my grandmother set up a Virginia 529 so that my college, so long as it was in state, would be paid for. I am extremely fortunate because of this and I am extremely happy with my decision to attend JMU. I’ve always known that college leads to higher paying and more successful jobs, but after reading this prompt, I was curious to see how higher education affected the state and national GDP rates. Higher education is extremely important in today’s world, it can lead to more higher paying jobs “On an annual basis, bachelor’s degree holders earn about $32,000 more than those whose highest degree is a high school diploma.” (1), better job security “In 2015, among 25-to 34-year-olds bachelor’s degree holders, the unemployment rate was 2.6% compared to 8.1% among those with a high school diploma” (2), as well as having a higher education, does impact the national and state level GDP. As the number of bachelor and higher degree having citizens increase, the GDP increases as well. An economic benefit of educational attainment research conducted by Douglas Holtz-Eakin and Tom Lee proved this point. When compared the GDP increase of high school students in which every one percent increase would amount to a .05 percentage increase on the state’s real GDP growth rate, when a one percent increase happened with bachelor having citizens, the state’s real GDP would increase by .08 percent. Now, that isn’t much however recently the number of citizens who have been achieving bachelor or higher degrees has been increasing with an annual rate 2% (3). So if we calculate the annual growth rate of bachelor holding citizens with the real GDP state increase of .08 percent with each one percent increase with can find that in the last 20 years, by deciding that there is a .16 percent increase to the real state GDP each year and multiplying that by 20 we can find that in the last 20 years the GDP increase rate due to the amount of bachelor holding citizens has increase by 3.2 percent on top of the regular amount of bachelor holding student graduate each year. That is actually quite an increase, much more than I originally expected to find. After researching this topic, I am surprised with the amount higher education contributes to the GDP as well as increase the GDP in general and I am proud to known that in, hopefully two more years, I will also contribute to growing the state of Virginia as well as the nations real GDP. Go Dukes!

    2. (,degree%20(Torpey%2C%202018).

  4. This subject is very new to me about the concerns with paying for college and worrying about debt because since my junior year of High School I’ve had full scholarships to schools for football, but after looking into this I would have gone the community college route due to the financial benefits. Community colleges have had a major role in helping students who wish to pursue a college degree cut the cost down quite a bit. The average yearly tuition of community colleges is just $3,440, according to the Princeton Review, which when compared to JMU, which is a 4 year public state college, costs $12,206. The community college route is around a quarter of what going to a 4 year college straight out of high school would cost you. Another aspect to consider is that schools such as JMU require 1st and second year students to take GenEds, which are just general education classes not related to a students specific major, so why would students not just choose to take their first two years of college at the discounted price then transfer into a 4 year college? The biggest issue that is holding community colleges back from making a larger impact on the debts that students take out for school is that the standard in our society is that you graduate high school then go off to college and leave your home and families behind, but community college students tend to stay at home, which effects how many students choose to go that route. It’s shown that 93% of kids whose parents have at least a Bachelor’s degree attend a 4 year institute, which shows how much pressure these kids are under to go off to college. That adds to another large amount of money that is being saved, room and board, when students choose community college. There is a community college within commuting distance of 90 percent of the U.S. population, which is why the odds of a student paying room and board are very low, but if they did it would be a fraction of the cost that 4 year institutes charge. Going along with community colleges being beneficial they allow students to work while because they allow students to go as part-time, which gives them the opportunity to work full-time to help pay for school or just rack up money to save up for their dream schools.


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    Why do students pay so much more to attend certain private non-profit universities?

    The most important thing to understand about certain non-profit universities is the potential to make money, and the benefits that they provide to you in the world of landing a job. When looking at tuition for a traditional in-state public university, the average in the US is $20,770, and $46,950 for nonprofit private schools. That’s more than double, while this is a lot, the benefits definitely have the potential to outweigh the downfalls. The average salary for a University of Massachusetts graduate is $51,400. While an average graduate from Massachusetts Institute of Technology is expected to make $104,700. I think this is the main factor that attributes to the difference in the tuition of these schools. While money is the driving factor behind many American’s choosing these private institutes over public; Another reason is simply how good it looks on a resume in regard to landing jobs. This is again derived from money but highlights another factor in the decision-making process. When looking at student surveys from UMass and MIT; they bring to light many important points to note. 89 percent of graduates from MIT reported full-time employment, while only 71 percent of UMass graduates reported full time employment. This is huge, the main goal of college is to prepare and assist you in finding employment. This statistic really shows the benefit you get from paying for a high class school. Another stat which caught my eye in the student surveys were the median pay ranges once again. Two of the 4 majors listed in the survey report mean incomes of $108k and nearly $130k for MBA majors. In contrast, UMass had only 3 percent of their entire survey body in the range of $100-$150k. The potential coming from a school like MIT really is huge—that is if you are able to get in. Furthermore, I must mention when talking about MIT and many private non-profit schools is how exclusive they often are. It is a much smaller sample size than UMass and that must be considered when looking at the stats. MIT has nearly 1/5 of the students that UMass does. 4,530:24,209. Although this should be considered, it shouldn’t take away from the fact that going to a school of the prestige of MIT certainly provides many benefits, especially when being compared to a traditional public school. In conclusion, the main reason that students pay more for certain non-profit private universities, is money and job access. I’m not saying that I agree with the insane difference in payment, but I definitely understand it, and how it can pay itself out in the long run. Although I would love to put Harvard graduate on my resume, I certainly don’t think you need it to be successful.


  6. My understanding of college is very limited. Like most people, I dreamed of going to school since a kid but only as an athlete. I’ve received quite a few scholarships offers so I never thought of actually paying for college. Watching trends and listening to my friends, it seems like going to a university even with online classes is worth it. Jmu’s tuition is 12k in state and 30k out of state. Then NOVA community college is 5k in state and 11k out of state. So the question is why pay more if you are receiving the same online education? The main issue is that kids feel left out when all their friends attend school and they are stuck at home. Also, they feel pressure from their parents to attend a university. From a financial standpoint, you save about 7k a year, and also have the ability to get a job and make more money. It is an easy choice to make financially but mentally it can be exhausting. Since colleges understand this concept and understand their demand will always be there, they will continue to up the prices. According to costs of college has gone up close to 60% since 2010. According to,GED%20or%20other%20equivalency%20credential there has been a 6% increase in the number of people attending college. So, there is no reason for universities to cut back on prices. Ultimately there is no real answer, it just comes down to what type of person you are.

  7. Research has shown that students who continue their education into college make more than students who do not. Individuals with an associate degree on average make 18.68 percent more per week than those with just a high school diploma. These percentages dramatically increase, earning a bachelor’s degree increases weekly earnings by 44.7 percent. Only having limited post-secondary education is not included in the increased weekly earnings and should not be considered. Going to college and earning an associate, bachelor, or doctorate degree provides individuals with greater employment opportunities rather than someone who does not have those degrees. These opportunities lead to higher wages. This is just one of the many incentives that colleges offer to people who are deciding to go or not. “Our estimated coefficient indicates that increasing the growth rate of the population with at least a bachelor’s degree (relative to the population as a whole) is associated with an increase in a state’s GDP growth rate by an average of 0.08 percentage points”(Holtz-Eakin). This study done from the source shows that there was an increase in GDP when there was an increasing number in the population with at least a bachelor’s degree. Getting a degree from college makes people more money. There are some jobs that pay high salaries that do not require a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree from a college or university. Many “trades” including working on the pipeline, being a lineman, or other outdoor jobs. But on average most higher-paying jobs require post-secondary education for an individual to obtain that certain job. In conclusion, having post-secondary education whether it’s a community college or a four-year university doesn’t just increase an individual’s salary but also spurs stronger economic growth.

    Holtz-Eakin, Douglas, et al. “The Economic Benefits of Educational Attainment.” AAF, 4 June 2019,‘s%20degree%20make%20about,GED%2Fhigh%2Dschool%20diploma.&text=The%20real%20GDP%20growth%20rate%20for%202018%20was%202.9%20percent,have%20been%20about%202.98%20percent.

  8. I believe that state schools are very helpful in containing college costs in your college career. In order to contain college cost, I believe that the route to go is to stay in state for college. Looking into it more, I also believe that it is very helpful to go to a community college in state to save money. Looking at these factors, there are many different routes and ways to save money by going to a state college or by going to lower level, community colleges, schools. For example, by looking at JMU’s tuition for in-state and out-of-state, you can already see a big difference in the college costs. According to JMU, the average in-state cost to attend is $23,918 and for out-of-state, it cost in total $40,818. This alone shows a big difference in the costs of attending in-state schools compared to out-of-state schools. However, this is just one example of an in-state school that has their tuition like this. By looking at the, you can clearly why attend state schools are very helpful in containing college costs. The college tuition website says that the average cost of tuition and fees for in-state, in the state of Virginia, cost about $14,007 and for out of state, it cost around $33,140 to attend. It also shows that throughout the last five years, the in-state and out-of-state tuitions have been on the rise. Over the last five years, undergraduate tuition and fees are risen from $29,542, in 2017, to $33,140, in 2021. In comparison to in-state tuition, which has risen from $12,168, in 2017, to $14,007, in 2021. Both of the cost has risen slightly but as you can see, out-of-state tuition and fees has risen more than in-state cost and out-of-state tuition still outnumbers the cost of in-state but almost $20,000. All of this information shows that in-state universities are way cheaper than out-of-state schools but another factor is community colleges. According to the U.S News, community colleges are the best valuable option for college students to save money. In 2018, the average cost of attending a four year, in-state university was about $9,000. In contrast, it cost only about $3,660 to attend an in-state community college. Community colleges also have other valuable option such as flexibility, balance of activities, and academic aid like four-year universities. In all, state schools, no matter if they are four-year or community colleges, are way cheaper than out-of-state schools and provide great opportunities to residents. They will allow you to make it through college with little debt and are very helpful to your future down the road.


  9. I believe that going to community college for two years is better than going to a in state four year university. For example going to a community college would allow you to save money on tuition. When you attend a community college yearly tuition and fees are just $3,440 this really shows that students can save some cash while going to college. Another big reason I believe that going to a community college is better is that students can also work while being a school and make money instead of going to a four year university and not having a lot of time to do so. A four year university like JMU for Freshman is $23,000 for in state tuition that is a lot of money to owe back when your out of college. At a community college students also tend to have academic flexibility, it is a good way for a student to ease into higher education. Especially with students that struggled in high school this gives students a way to ease into it and even boost your GPA to start. At a four year university you can get financial aid but also at a community college students can get financial aid if they are eligible which makes college even cheaper. Some would say that going to a two year university students wouldn’t get the “true” college experience but not a lot of the community colleges actually have dorms and they include extracurricular activities as well as networking activities on campuses.
    When a student goes to a four year university the classes tend to be huge so really you wouldn’t get hands on help. However at a community college they have smaller classes which can allow for more one on one time with instructors which can help a struggling student. However four year universities are more expensive and you wouldn’t be able to do half the things you could at a community college it’s a great experience and a fun time. Four year universities more than likely do have better education programs that is the only downfall of a community college. I would say if your looking for somewhere cheap while still being able to live a home life as well as getting a education I would go with a community college its smaller and will allow students to adjust to a new chapter of there lives.

  10. The increasing cost of higher education has been a continuing topic for debate in recent decades. American society emphasizes the importance of education after high school, yet the cost of undergraduate and advanced degrees continually rises at a greater rate than inflation. According to CNBC, the cost of college has increased more than 25% in the past 10 years. During the 2002 to 2003 school year, the year I was born, it cost the modern equivalent of $34,800 per year to attend private college and $13,500 per year to attend public college. Today, those costs are around $48,510 and $21,370 respectively. The increase in college costs has risen an insane amount, making college unaffordable for millions of Americans. This is extremely unfair because many students who deserve to go to college may miss out because of the cost and lack of financial aid.

    For example, one of my good friends got into Columbia University. She was set on attending that school, but for the academic year 2020-2021, her undergraduate tuition and fees would have been $61,671. She came from a lower income family, didn’t get much in financial aid, didn’t receive any scholarships, and wouldn’t have any help with her tuition. So instead, she ended up at West Virginia because they gave her a full ride. This happens to many students, not just her, and it’s very unfair. These students worked so hard to get into these prestigious schools to not be able to attend because of the rising costs of education.


  11. In my experience of finding, applying, and attending colleges, community colleges are very helpful in keeping costs down. I attended Tidewater Community College for two semesters before transferring to JMU. I can easily say that I am glad that I took my two semesters at TCC because I finished almost all of my general education classes, 30 credits, in those two semesters, it only cost me $2,500 dollars a semester compared to for what I pay now at JMU which is just under $13,000 per semester. According to college board the annual costs of college are as follows; community college costs $3,347, public colleges cost $9,147, and finally private colleges cost $15,230 ( I personally went to community college because I did not get into JMU during my first application process, however if money was a concern for me it would be an easy decision to take my two years of gen eds there. However, that is not the case for most with the stigma of community college educations not being as substantial as a four-year university’s education, it makes it hard for students to make this decision. Also, there is the common thought that students should go away to college and with community college that isn’t the case. It seems that despite the stigma there are little disadvantages to going to community college. According to Forbes, students that go to community colleges are 75% more likely to graduate and community college students have more work force experience and are therefore more driven and career focused which is better for the economy ( Along with low costs and higher graduation rates with college degrees being more important for careers students can get into the workforce faster with community colleges offering two-year associates degrees it opens the door for students. Whether that be them transferring to a 4-year university, apply for a career, or being able to go into the armed forces with a college degree making them eligible to be officers and earn a higher pay, it gives them an edge on students attending four-year universities without breaking the bank.

  12. As a student at James Madison University, I have direct interactions with the costs of college. From experience I believe JMU does a sub-par job at helping maintain the costs of college. There are an overabundance of costs, purchases, and payments on top of school tuition and room/board. In an article in the New York Times, the indirect costs of colleges are analyzed and estimated to be around three-thousand dollars per year. The article describes many indirect and outside costs most college students deal with. A major issue my peers and I deal with is parking. First, in order to even park on campus as a student you must purchase a three-hundred-dollar parking pass. Schools should be able to afford giving any student paying tuition a parking pass without making them pay. However, this is not the main issue. Even with a parking pass it is nearly impossible to find a vacant spot on campus. Then, parking in a spot not intended for students can lead to a fine ranging from fifty to two hundred dollars, or your vehicle being towed. These are extra costs for students that should not be necessary. Another major issue is the costly outside resources students need while taking their classes. This includes textbooks, online programs, tutors, supplies, websites, and computer applications. These costs can add up to hundreds of dollars for students. Schools do not need to necessarily pay for these, but improved and renovated policies and conduct can reduce these costs for students. For example, better learning strategies and education policies can lead to students depending less on tutors, online learning programs, and other outside resources, therefore spending less money reducing the costs of college. The last issue I wanted to discuss was the excludability of most resources at the university. This includes parking, food, facilities, the gym, books, tutors, and studying areas. Especially during COVID-19 times, these resources are very hard to get to and very excludable. Food options are always crowded or closed, leading to students needing to purchase food off campus. Gym availability is a minimum; sometimes I must schedule two or three days in advance to acquire a gym slot. This causes students to have to pay for off-campus gyms or pay for home-exercise equipment. Books, tutors, and studying areas are almost always either taken, full, or too busy to use. The limited accessibility forces students to use money in other places to help succeed in school. These are additional costs added to the tuition the students are already paying. The non-beneficial efforts of the university and the excludability of most resources offered by the school lead to an overload of additional costs students must deal with while attending school.
    On the other hand, my opinion is also biased because I am the student paying for these costs. Obviously, since the money is coming out of my pocket then I will believe some of the costs of college are unnecessary. Some may believe the excludability of resources on campus is a normal problem of college and students must work around it. However, the article from the New York Times did agree with my opinion that universities to not do enough to prevent these common issues and costs. The article also states schools do not do a good enough job of informing students on the indirect costs of college. Universities can do a better job of helping maintain costs by making resources for accessible for students and improve their ways of informing students on the indirect costs of college.

  13. I believe that many state colleges are not good at helping to contain college costs, but community colleges are much better at doing so. I have taken classes at Montgomery College and am a student here at JMU, and the differences are bizarre. At Montgomery college, student financial aid is readily available, they have budget options in the dining hall, and they even offer classes called “Z-courses,” which are essentially classes that have no extra costs, because all materials and textbooks are provided by the school. Here at JMU, it feels like they are trying to squeeze every penny out of you. From tuition to textbooks to even meal plans, the costs just keep racking up. Even if you go to in state college, the tuition can be. According to some data on, the average annual tuition for an in-district community college is $3,340. On the other hand, the average annual tuition for an in state 4 year private college is $8,102, almost two and a half times the cost of your average community college. Including everything else such as housing, meal plan, and transportation, you could be saving much more by going to a community college before attending another private school. Schools like University of Maryland even have a program for students that attend community college and are looking to get a 4 year degree or higher, which can be very helpful for people who want to save a decent amount of cash and figure out a direction they want to go before spending up to twice the amount on an in-state or out-of-state tuition.


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    Going through elementary and middle school, teachers often tried to force the idea onto students that attending college is necessary to be successful. In high school upper students would show off what college they would be attending through their clothes and stickers on their cars. Students attending community college or just an online school would most likely not celebrate their school of choice as they would likely be looked down on. Yet the lack of celebration inevitably gave away that they were attending a “good” school. When I chose JMU these thoughts were on my mind and were a part of my decision making.

    This is unfortunately true at many schools and is not a new problem. According to Statista( in 2000 public enrollment was 11.75 million people at a average, adjusted for inflation cost of 8,274 according to NCES ( In 2010 enrollment was 15.14 million at a cost of 15,036 dollars and in 2018 enrollment dropped to 14.53 million while cost increased to about 20,000 dollars.

    The increase in enrollment up to 2010 is largely due to the expectations that a person has to go to college if they want to be successful in life. The increase in cost is largely due to the need for more buildings, for learning, eating, and sleeping, to accommodate the extra students. As well as for people with a little bit more money to cover the cost of people with less money. Unfortunately the idea that college is necessary for success is believed by a large amount of the high paying jobs as about 35 percent of jobs require a degree according to Georgetown ( The reasoning behind this belief is not completely clear as according to Pew Research Center “just 16% of Americans think that a four-year degree prepares students “somewhat well” for the workplace. ( ” On top of this there have been numerous extremely successful people who never went to college including Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. Eliminating the belief that college is required for someone to be successful would make college less of a necessity allowing people who can’t really afford college be more successful without it. A bigger push for vocational training would help people really find what they want to do and maybe never have to go to college. This would also mean there would be fewer college students since guaranteed extra cash early in life would now be more worthwhile than the guaranteed debt and the potential to make more money in the future.

    The number of students taking online classes has grown by about 150 percent between 2010 and 2018, during which time enrollment in public in person college has dropped. The extremely high in person cost of college coupled with the convenience of online college makes online learning for a lot of people far outweigh the benefits of in person learning. This surge in online learning has yet to decrease in person cost yet the lowering supply of students at colleges will likely mean decreased cost of in person learning.

  15. When the time came for my sister and I to apply to colleges, my parents told us we could only apply to colleges in state because out of state tuition was too expensive. The price for instate tuition in 2018 was $26,726 and out of state was $43,434. Comparing this to 2021’s in state tuition being $28,426 and out of state costing $45,454. The tuition price of colleges continues to increase each year, and student loans debt since 2020 has reached 1.57 trillion dollars. During the pandemic, many incoming freshmen made the choice to take classes at their community colleges to save money since there were not many in person classes offered. The average debt of a college student after graduating in 2020 will have around $30,000 in debt. Students are accommodating all parts of their lives to conform to the college standards that society has created, not realizing the pressure that is added on to students and their parents. For example, my cousin recently graduated from George Mason and received her bachelors in only three years. Her motive for completing so early was because she was paying for her own education and rent, and even commuted 45 minutes to classes everyday to avoid paying the increased rent in a city. As the tuition continues to increase, young adults could start to get discouraged and decide to choose different paths rather than college. Students should be able to have the opportunity of deciding which path they choose, free of the pressure that comes from student debt.


  16. The current system of education beyond high school is effective: state schools and community colleges provide a significantly cheaper alternative to private or out of state institutions, which gives less fortunate students the opportunity to receive a valuable college degree.

    The cost of college has risen significantly: since 1985, the cost of higher education has increased by an eye-popping 538%. Despite the increase, recent studies still suggest the that a degree is worth it in the long run. According to a 2018 article by Forbes, “The typical college graduate will earn roughly $900,000 more than the typical high school graduate over their working life.” It is evident that a college degree is a smart financial investment, but by which means should you go about achieving your degree? The answer to this question largely depends on the individual’s financial situation, and there are options in place for everyone.

    Community college allows students to knock out the first two years of college for a much lower price. Data from College Board shows that the average total cost of community college per year is $12,320, which is little less than half of the $21,370 average total cost of a public four-year in-state university. These two years allow students to work and save money for the remaining two years of college they face, save on room and board, and lets students hone in on what they really want to study. It makes an already expensive four-year college even more expensive when students waste credits by switching to a different major once they are already well into their college career. When comparing in-state universities to private or out of state options, the cost benefits are huge: compared to the $21,370 for state schools, private universities average $48,570 per year. While the cost of private schools is more, there are advantages. According to an article by Lexington Law, students that receive their degree from private schools earn about 10% more income over their lifetime than those who attend public school. For those privileged enough to attend private schools, this might be the best option. Yet it does expose certain inequality in the system, which is in favor of those who are able to afford private school.

    Based on what I have learned in economics, it is logical to reason that the lower cost of community college puts a ceiling on how high state schools can raise their prices; furthermore, state schools’ lower costs put a ceiling on how high private universities can raise their prices. This is because, in a competitive market, the prices of competing businesses help bring prices to an equilibrium. If a certain school were to raise tuition too much, they would lose their students to less expensive alternatives, which is what keeps prices in check. These different options make for a system that allows everyone to obtain a degree for a fitting price, which will more than pay itself off in the long run.

  17. The very first question that was asked in my household after I had been admitted into JMU was “how do we pay for this?” Luckily my parents are divorced (not so lucky growing up but higher education-wise this was great) and I was able to work my FAFSA around that fact. I applied to a few Universities because going to a four-year school was my dream, although a two-year community college was always in the back of my mind. I live not even five minutes away from Lord Fairfax Community College (LFCC) and most of my peers in high school attended this college right out of high school. They are saving money, an extreme amount of money compared to me even with divorced parents, to essentially be taught the same material. After realizing what this school year would truly be like, I wish I would have gone to community college first and then transferred to JMU. The facts are undeniable. The Princeton Review states “Community college tuition is usually thousands of dollars cheaper than tuition for private and public four–year universities. The average in-state tuition at community colleges for 2014–2015 according to the College Board was just $3,347.” The average cost of tuition at a community college is a fraction of what I will end up having to pay at JMU. The tuition is just one of the pros of going to a community college. Pros of this also include not having a room and board fee, not being a “full-time student” but still getting an associate’s degree which allows students to get a job during school, and transferring to a University after two years is easier than applying to that school as a freshman. Trevor Creedon, who is a college and career counselor at Deleware County Christian School explains that “#1 – It’s easier to get admitted to a college as a transfer student than it is as a freshman. Colleges lose students every year so they need to fill those spots or they are losing expenses that are budgeted for.” Since it is even easier to get into a university by just going to a cheaper alternative first, why would people not? After researching these facts I wish I would have looked more into them at the time of choosing my after high school plans. Community college is an option to combat rising tuition while also receiving a degree at the end of it. Unlike Khan Academy, you can learn the information for free but with no degree. At least with community colleges, you pay less than half the price of universities for a legitimate degree. An article by Kate Barrington says that “Community colleges enroll nearly half of all college students and provide educational opportunities some students would otherwise not be able to access. They play a role in workforce development, local economic development, and vocational training.” It’s unquestionable, community colleges are a big money saver for students. Therefore yes, the option of state schools/community colleges do help in containing college costs, and might I say they help immensely in containing these costs.

    Sources –

    4 Reasons to Consider Community College. Accessed 8 Apr. 2021.

    What do students need to know about transferring? (n.d.). Unigo.Com. Retrieved April 8, 2021, from

    Community colleges are more important than ever | communitycollegereview. Com. (n.d.). Community College Review. Retrieved April 8, 2021, from

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    As a former community college transfer, I believe that community college is a helping hand financially for people who are struggling to pay for 4-year colleges. According to The Princeton Review, the average yearly tuition for community colleges costs a very affordable $3,440 dollars. As everyone knows, the cost of college goes a lot farther than just tuition. The Princeton Review also mentions that 90% of community colleges are within commuting distance. These young students might not be overly excited that they have to live with their parents for two more years, but in the long run, it sure would save a ton of money. I personally pay over $6,000 a year just for housing when before I was living rent free at my parent’s house while attending community college. On average, a third of community college students receive financial aid on top of their already affordable tuition. According to Value Penguin, the average total yearly cost of attending public college sums up to $25,290 for in-state and $40,940 for out of state. For private schools, the average is $50,900! These expenses are outrageous, but the thing is, in order to graduate from a 4-year college that is credible, there is no getting out of these expenses. In my opinion, it seems to me that Universities are working together, nationwide, to price fix tuition so that there really is no way out of these insanely high expenses. Community college can be a way out, but that way out is very limited as higher-level courses are not offered. I get that there is a broad range of expenses the universities have to pay, but I still do not believe these costs are necessary. When you look at the bigger picture, it all boils down to capitalism. I am a huge fan of capitalism, but with capitalism comes corruption. A lot of people in a capitalist society can pay for success instead of needing to earn it. You can pay more to get a degree at a prestigious university and in return, get better job offers. That is just how it works. We do not pay to learn; we pay for the piece of paper.


  19. It is standard knowledge that from an economic viewpoint, the benefits received from a college education that outweigh, or at least equal the cost of that education, revolve around finding employment in your field of study. Students are willing to accumulate debt from student loans in order to earn a job with a salary that can help them pay off those loans and live comfortably. By this concept, it is fair to say that for two students paying the same amount in tuition, the cost of that tuition is higher for the student who is unable to find employment than for the student who is.
    At the end of the article, the author mentions that there has been an increased emphasis on STEM majors at universities. In a reply to this article, Joe Louque also provided a statistic obtained from the College Board Research (, which shows that college applications have increased as much as 81% as some of the most competitive universities between 2002 and 2012. These two pieces of information raise questions for students graduating with STEM degrees. Does the increase in STEM majors lead to more competition finding employment in STEM related fields? If there is more competition, are more STEM majors having trouble finding employment post graduation? Does this raise the overall cost of college for students seeking STEM degrees?
    According to Monthly Labor Review, (, the STEM field is at an interesting point in which it is experiencing both a surplus and a shortage. According to this article, if the U.S is to maintain its prestige technologically, economic charts suggest it will need to produce around one million more STEM professionals over the next decade than it is projected to produce at its current rate. With the current trends in university majors, the U.S is trending towards accomplishing this task. However, despite increasing supply of labor in these fields, unemployment among STEM professionals is growing. In 2012, the unemployment rate for chemists hit 4.6%, its highest number in 40 years. In 2010 and 2011, the unemployment rate for electrical engineers was around 3.4%, but spiked to 6.5% in 2013. Furthermore, in 2014, the U.S Census Bureau reported that 74% of those who have a bachelor’s degree in a STEM major are not employed in STEM occupations. These trends suggest that there is a shortage of jobs, not a shortage of workers. One might assume that for these percentage of unemployed STEM majors, the overall cost of college education is higher than for those in the same field who were able to find employment.
    On a similar note, the author of the original blog post mentions that due to the increased emphasis on STEM related majors, interest in the humanities has declined. This statistic is related to the cost of college for both students, and universities. In a New York Times article, Tamar Lewin notes that at Stanford University, 45% of faculty members in Stanford’s main undergraduate division are employed in humanities, while only 15% of the universities students are enrolled in humanities related majors ( This unequal distribution of staff has forced many universities to close down or reduce funding for their humanities related fields as evidenced by Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, which closed its degree programs in German, philosophy, and world languages and culture. For professors and staff members in these programs, decreased funding and closures mean that suddenly, their degree is worth less, and inversely, the cost of that degree rises.
    I believe it is important to view the cost of a college education not only from a tuition standpoint, but from a benefit standpoint as well.


  20. I do believe that state schools are necessary in containing college costs. At most, if not all, state schools, in-state tuition is significantly lower than that for out-of-state. In my home state of Georgia, the legislature passed a law in the 1990s to attempt to incentivize students to go in-state by giving GPA-based scholarships at most public universities. According to a paper written by Bridget Terry Long in the Harvard Journal of Human Resources, this law also allowed the legislature to keep in-state tuition costs at relatively low rates. Therefore, especially in states with state subsidized finical aid, they are very effective in containing college costs. Another way to analyze this is through the idea of community college. Like many of the people who have commented before me have mentioned, community college costs are much less costly than public 4-year universities. For example, tuition at Blue Ridge Community College is $1,848.00 for 12 credit hours, while in-state tuition at JMU is $3,625 for the same amount of credit hours. Although I expected there to be a greater difference between JMU tuition and community college tuition, this further solidifies my argument that state subsidies and community college are a good counter to the rising cost of college tuition nationwide.
    Personally, I did forego the state subsidies and community college to come to JMU. I did this because I felt as though I would be a better fit at JMU, rather than any public school in my home state. As well, I was raised in an area where community college was looked down upon and seen as though only those who would not qualify for the state-sponsored financial aid would go. As such, I believe that the negative stigma behind community college in some places is a cause for some universities to be able to raise tuition prices. This is because, according to an article from Forbes, some people many feel as though community college classes are of lesser quality than public 4-year universities and they want to get a higher quality of education. Additionally, many students want to get away from home, and attending their local community college is the exact opposite of what they want to do. Looking back at where I was before coming to college, I held most of these sentiments. Even though I wouldn’t change my mind on coming to JMU, I wish I had given more thought to going to community college to save money.

  21. First and foremost, education is essential to every individual who wants to make a good life for themselves, however rising costs in higher education does not make it easily accessible for everyone. It is a known fact that education cost grows every year, but the question asked is why and how we should fix it. According to Business Insider ( College tuition rates have doubled since the 80s and has grew at a faster rate than wages in the 1970s. As for the public university tuition minus fees and room and board, the costs have tripled (3.2k  10k) since 1988-89 and for private universities these costs have doubled (15.2k  34.7k) from 1988-89. To attribute to this rise in tuition rates is the fact that college has become more popularized meaning that people think that college is necessary to success in their lives. With this increase in college students means that the universities need to hire more professors, which can only increase the college cost. Looking at JMU, however, we can see the tuition steadily increasing over the years ($8,976 during the 2011-12 school year and $11,976 during the 2020-21 school year) at and,to%20%2429%2C016%20(year%202021). This is due to the state funding for colleges and universities going down and more student services being offered at the universities with rising population, according to To fix this increase every year for tuition, I think that the state governments would need to offer more funding to these universities since they are profitable to the state’s economy. What I mean by this is that if education were more accessible, than the overall production of the state would rise, because of more people having better jobs, yielding higher output. As for the question about “for profit” colleges being worthwhile, I think that while the idea might seem like this system is long-term, I do not think that it is sustainable. Students in this system will realize that the extra money the university asks from them is not being put towards helping students, for example: clubs, sport teams, housing, dining, etc. After this realization, students would leave the university making the university to ask for more money from the students to maintain profit, until they have no students. Therefore, making this “for profit” system unsustainable.

  22. Why do so many students pay so much more to attend certain non-profit private universities?

    It has become quite clear that some students would much prefer to attend private universities, but why? A somewhat old Pew Research poll (, Anna Brown, “Public and Private”) tells us that students who went to private colleges feel about the same in life as their public university attending counter-parts, so what is the point of going to a private school? The answer is, that while there is no clear benefit to attending a private university, there is a misconception that private universities are more elite.

    The idea that private universities are more elite than public ones simply comes down to the fact that private universities hold more prestige than public universities. Using a tool by USNEWS (found here:, we can see that the highest ranking public university in America is UCLA, which is at #21. What universities are at the top? Princeton, Harvard, MIT, and other private universities. While the education gap between that of a public UCLA and a private Princeton are yet to be determined, it is quite clear that this represents a difference in perceived quality; as to say even if there isn’t that much of a difference between these schools, the public perception of Harvard is that it is prestigious, just as the other private schools at the top.
    We can also see this with public perception of the students that go to these schools, though. InsideHigherEd tells us that an astonishing 54% of people polled believe that people who go to Ivy League schools, that of which are overwhelmingly private, are elitist (, Scott Jaschik, “Positive View”). This is to say that many people believe that people who attend these higher prestige private schools think they are more elite than students who may attend lower prestige public universities.

    Understanding that students go to private universities because they believe that these universities provide more of a prestigious learning opportunity, or in some cases just make them appear smarter themselves, is crucial to our perception of people who choose to go to these schools. We understand now that while these schools may seem to offer better outcomes, all they generally do is cost more money while providing the same satisfaction as a public school would.

  23. With seemingly nonstop rising costs of higher education, such as graduate and undergraduate degrees, the discussion of the importance of higher education has become increasingly more prevalent. According to an article published by USNews, in the past 20 years, the average tuition and fees of private, out-of-state, and in-state national universities have risen by 144%, 165%, and 212% respectively (Boyington & Kerr, 2020). With increases such as these that show no signs of stopping, it is natural to think that there would be more weight placed on the decision to pursue higher education, especially when thinking about the increases in student loan debt that have been seen over the past decade (Kerr, 2020). Due to these circumstances of the higher education system, and the likeliness of apprehension to pursue higher education due to them, it is important to think about the macroeconomic impact that education has, specifically on factors such as GDP.

    When investigating how education affects macroeconomic outcomes such as GDP levels, we can easily look at it through the lens of other nations. Using this angle allows us to look at the trends of other countries’ education systems and GDPs to make assumptions as to the correlation of these two factors. Studies have shown that in Greece, education has been a considerable exogenous variable that has contributed to Greece’s economic growth in the investigated period (Solaki, 2013). Similarly, studies of education in Bangladesh have shown evidence of causality between education and growth (Islam, Wadud, & Islam, 2007). In a study on Morocco and Tunisia, we see positive correlations between spending on education and GDP per capita growth in the long term, however, mixed results in the short term (Ifa & Guetat, 2018).

    All of these sources show positive correlations between education and economic growth within these countries, but what about higher education specifically, and what about the US? When looking at America’s GDP in regard to higher education, the trends have been primarily positive. According to the Association of Governing Boards (AGB), “From 1996 to 2015, technology transfer from universities sparked development of more than 380,000 new inventions, contributed $591 billion to the national GDP…” (AGB, 2021). From this, we can assume that in regard to technological developments, higher levels of higher education would lead to more GDP growth. Similarly, the AGB also states that when the number of college graduates increases by 1%, the wages of high school graduates increase by 1.6% (AGB, 2021). As Americans earn more money, the GDP grows, showing yet again that higher education is positive for GDP growth. On top of this evidence, some estimates suggest that a 10% increase in the number of universities per capita in a region is associated with 0.4% higher future GDP per capita (Valero & Reenen, 2018). Given all of this evidence, it is my personal opinion that increases in education levels (specifically higher education) do in fact lead to higher expected GDP levels and growth rates.

    AGB. (2021, March 05). Higher education contributes to a strong economy. Retrieved April 08, 2021, from
    Boyington, B., & Kerr, E. (2020, September 17). 20 years of tuition growth at national universities. Retrieved April 08, 2021, from,the%20most%2C%20increasing%20212%25.
    Ifa, A., & Guetat, I. (2018, February 24). Does public expenditure on Education promote Tunisian and Moroccan GDP per Capita? ARDL approach. Retrieved April 08, 2021, from
    Islam, Tariq Saiful, Wadud, Abdul, and Islam, Qamarullah Bin Tariq, (2007) “Relationship between education and GDP growth: a mutivariate causality analysis for Bangladesh.” Economics Bulletin, Vol. 3, No. 35 pp. 1-7
    Kerr, E. (2020, September 15). See 10 years of average total student loan debt. Retrieved April 08, 2021, from
    Solaki, M. (2013). Relationship Between Education and GDP Growth: A Bi-variate Causality Analysis for Greece. International Journal of Economic Practices and Theories, 3(2).
    Valero, A., & Reenen, J. (2018, September 14). The economic impact of universities: Evidence from across the globe. Retrieved April 08, 2021, from

  24. The problem of rising higher education cost in comparison to the devalued worth of a four year degree has been an ongoing debate over the past 20 years. In the academic year of 1987-1988 the cost of tuition alone was $3,190, in comparison to the cost of tuition in 2017-2018 being $9,970. This is put into retrospect when looking at the inflation rate of the dollar, as the U.S. dollar has inflated by 125.77% since 1988. This means that tuition in 1988 would be the equivalent of $7,202.06 in the U.S. today, nearly $2,700 less than the actual cost of tuition. Community colleges and free higher education is slowly becoming a more socially acceptable form of education with rising prices in any form of a four-year university. When taking this in mind, we can then begin to talk about the decreasing value of a degree due to the higher quantity of people attending universities because there is evidence pointing towards the exploitation of young adolescents who need to attend college in order to compete with others in the work force. This further reinforces the rush of students to community colleges as the institutions provide a cheap and efficient system of education. While the increasing amount of loan-ridden students entering the work force can be seen as a con towards the higher number of degree seeking adults, this in theory should push the United States economy in a positive direction as this helping build human capital and helps construct a stronger and more diverse work force, thus hopefully increasing GDP.

  25. In the United States, it is believed that you must obtain a college degree in order to get a well paying job and be able to maintain a normal lifestyle. Because of this reason, 36% of Americans that are above the age of 25 have a degree in 2019 (1). The cost of college has increased more than 25% over the last 10 years, which could make it more difficult for some to attend; this will also increase the total student loans. It makes you think, how can we succeed without the economic issues that come with attending college?
    President Biden’s campaign has shown specific measures that will be taken to stop the increase. Biden has plans to invest $50 billion in workforce training, $8 billion in community colleges, and create a student debt forgiveness program (2). There are also strategies that others can do to help contain the cost of college such as financial aid, scholarships, and taking AP/dual enrollment courses in high school.
    For many people money is not an issue, so they choose to attend a non profit private university such as Harvard, Yale, Cornell, ect. I believe that one of the main reasons that people will go to such universities is the stereotype that students in these schools are more successful, more intelligent, and will have a better chance at a higher paying job. They have an extremely low acceptance rate (usually 10% or less) that can create an incentive for students to achieve, while allowing those that are accepted to feel a sense of superiority over others. These schools have small student population and class sizes, but large networking events, which can make the learning experience better (3). For example, Yale University has a total undergraduate enrollment of 6,092 and a student to teacher ratio of 6:1, but the tuition is around $58,000 (4). James Madison University on the other hand, using the same source, has about 20,000 students with a 16:1 student to teacher ratio, and a $12,000 tuition (5). All of these factors play a role in the minds of future college students when choosing their university, and what might not be an issue for some, can be a dealbreaker for others.


  26. I believe that the root cause of the inflation of college tuition since the 1990’s is due to the commodification of public goods in a capitalist economy. This commodification means that higher education can be seen as a market that is failing due to a long overdue correction. College is best classified as a quasi-public good as it has an artificial scarcity as with subscription TV, uncongested toll roads, and knowledge subject to intellectual property rights (1). However, unlike the examples listed above, colleges have both rival and non-rival properties. They are non-rival because the acceptance of one student does not create direct causation of another student’s denial. Evidence shows that there has been a relatively constant rate of admission since 2000 (2); however, the increased college aged population from baby boomers of the 50’s & 60’s means that there is an intrinsic increase in demand of higher education. As with any market correction, suppliers must raise their prices to drive out consumers with a lower price target and reduce demand. Colleges are also rival due to competition with other colleges. One would think that this is competition for students but it has more so been competition for faculty and budgeting (3). Evidence of this can be seen in a 364% increasing average faculty salary from 1975 to 2021 (4). A market of faculty within the market of colleges is promoted through the hiring and retention of faculty with prestigious research (3). If a faculty member has prestigious research, the college will pay more to retain them and also allocate more budgeting for continued research. The prestigious research allows colleges to justify a higher tuition without seeing any decline in demand for college education. The HEPI is an index recently instituted to benchmark changes in college cost factors and allows consumers to more clearly understand the changes in tuition from year to year. The HEPI reflects the findings stated above (5).

    I believe this can be solved through the creation of new market competition where an institution must make an apparent and attractive effort for distinction. Ever since the 1990’s there has been a culture that embraces “knowledge economy” (3), promoting an exclusivity of professional careers available only to those with formal college education. This knowledge economy means that research outcomes are seen as potential goods with economic value and become major drivers of economic development. Institutions looking to create competition with formal college learning must be able to create paradigm shifts in the way people learn. My favorite example of this is the use of mentorship/apprenticeship style learning with other professionals in your future career. Companies like Google, who have the capital and infrastructure to do so, are beginning to employ “career certificates” that teach you everything you need to know and are a good alternative to a formal college education (6).

    1. CORE Project, The Economy, Chapter 12 Figure 12.8,
    2. Institute of Education Services, National Center for Education Statistics, College Enrollment Rates,
    3. Christine Musselin, New Forms of Competition in Higher Education,
    4. Institute of Education Services, National Center for Education Statistics, Average salary of full-time instructional faculty on 9-month contracts in degree-granting postsecondary institutions, by academic rank, control and level of institution, and sex: Selected years, 1970-71 through 2012-13, Table 316.10,
    5. Commonfund, HEPI 2020 Report Released,
    6. Google Career Certificates,

  27. ## Comment SPAM Protection: Shield Security marked this comment as “Trash”. Reason: Failed Bot Test (expired) ##
    Do you believe that state schools (community colleges or otherwise) are helpful in containing college costs?

    I believe that rising costs of higher education are hard and an unfortunate thing but also something that is inevitable. With the modern day options for higher education such as community college being a much more affordable alternative to public 4-year universities and online schooling such as University of Phoenix, etc, we see many options presented to students and their parents if they don’t feel like breaking the bank to send their child to a state university. Here in Virginia, we’ve experienced a 55.7% spike in tuition from 2008-2018 adjusted for inflation ( Due to this dramatic spike that just seemingly keeps growing larger with the years, it has led many young adults to choose the community college route which allows for cheaper education. When I was in high school I took advantage of the dual enrollment program which allowed for us to take college credit courses in high school to help fulfill some of my anticipated general education courses, now I’m a first year at JMU with 33 credits to my name prior to my first semester here. Not only did the dual enrollment program save me potentially thousands of dollars, it also opened the door to me possibly graduating early here, which greatly decreases my tuition costs. Another aspect that draws people towards the community college option, at least those who study in Virginia, is the option that allows you to take 2 years at community college then lets you transfer to any in state public university such as UVA, JMU, VT, ODU, GMU, etc. For some people, cost is not much of an issue but rather preference of a smaller school with more one-on-one interaction, or they just need to be able to commute to school or have a job to pay for school as well which is significantly harder at a public university. Personally, I valued the college experience of being able to live on campus, have meal plans, and have independence with my tradeoff being a more expensive education, it is all based off preference and ability to pay.

  28. There are a number of incentives for students to attend a non-profit private university that is more expensive than for-profit and public universities. Although it is true that most of them have more prestigious reputations and will set students up for success in the workplace, an even more important incentive is the guarantee that all of their tuition will go towards their college experience. This is part of the reason why students are so successful at these universities. One of the most telling stats is 78% of non-profit private students were able to graduate in 4 years while just 60% of public students were able to. These institutions are invested in ensuring student success which can often come at a higher price. Non-profit universities also must invest all tuition money back in the school for better facilities and resources to use in the classroom. This is very different from for-profit institutions as the money earned from tuition can go anywhere they see fit, from raising executives’ salaries or putting it into advertising. Some of the largest for-profits spend almost 400 dollars a year per student on advertising, promising that they can get students a degree in less time and there will be jobs waiting. Many students are also attracted to the grants and scholarships that these universities have to offer to combat the high initial costs of tuition. 67% of grant aid from non-profits comes from scholarships provided by the institution, meaning that students will not have to rely so heavily on loans that will have to be paid back. According to the National Association for College Admission Counseling, students who graduated with a bachelor’s degree at non-profit private schools walked out with $31,400 worth of debt while public colleges averaged $26,800. This stat shows how much grants close the initial price difference and how these schools become affordable in the long run. This is a small price to pay for a better chance at graduating and a higher quality educational experience. In conclusion, students are willing to pay more for non-profit private universities because their money is used to provide the best education in the country and can guarantee that tuition is going back to them. For-profit and public schools cannot guarantee that all the money paid for tuition will go back to that student. It is easy to understand why so many students choose these schools despite the price.


  29. State schools, more often community colleges, are very much helpful in containing the costs of higher education. In Virginia, certain public universities, have a program that gives grant money to qualifying transfer students from community colleges called the Transfer Grant Program. This money, on top of the Federal Pell Grant, certainly helps in offsetting the cost of higher education, but some people choose not to see that opportunities such as these can go a long way in terms of the total cost of education simply because they are set on a four year university only. As for people calling for “free” education and student loan forgiveness, they are quite ridiculous proposals because the notion of no or low cost education already exists through community colleges and federal aid. Making public colleges “free” would mean that the money would have to be provided by government programs rather than being provided for by student tuition, which would most likely mean that government spending would spiral out of control due to having to pay for salaries of professors, salaries of administrators, and the salaries of workers at these “free” universities, which would likely lead to a higher tax on everyone. Further investment in community colleges, as stated in president Biden’s plans, would make the offset cost of higher education more beneficial to those that choose to attend community colleges.


  30. Rising cost of college have caused a lot of the eyebrows to be raised. This has led to an increase in the amount of people who might not think that the cost of attending college is worth the outcome. The big question here is, why? Turns out that according to an article by CNBC there is an estimated 79% of the reason higher education has increased is due to funding cuts by states. The same article states that between 2008-2018 all but 8 states have received reduced funds by their respective state with every state during the same time period increasing in tuition costs by an average net cost of 24%. However, the cost of higher education might not just be the price tag on the balance sheet that someone gets every semester. Still, problems like these are what the government or even Universities are facing. How can they expand their reach to other students?
    “For-profit” schools have redefined the college experience. For a long time, the “for-profit” schools have expanded their reach in attracting students that may have not or wanted to attend a 4-year higher education institution. Instead of a 4-year high cost institution, for-profit schools are much more easily accessible with an online class setting at a much lower rate. A for-profit school called Grand Canyon University grew to about 40,000 students as much as 90% of them are using the online course program. A much cheaper and easier access to school for students who do not have the money or the time to be on campus and go to in-person classes.
    Now you may be saying, wow this sounds like a fantastic solution for higher education. Well, there are many question marks that have to be addressed. The big question mark people have is if the degrees offered at the for-profit universities are worthless? There have been numerous lawsuits filed against for-profit schools that have claimed to have provided incoming students with misled information or inaccurate information about the value of their degrees. Also, lawsuits were filed against for-profit universities for illegal practices of recruitment and misled recruitment information. The issue I found with this was, for-profit schools seemed to care more about the number of students enrolled in their school vs the standard of students and courses that was provide. In the Frontline College Inc video, the director of the University of Phoenix stated that about 20-25% of the revenue used at the school is used in sales and marketing and only 10-15% of revenue used in staff. These numbers show how for-profit school mostly care about enrollment vs enrolling the right kinds of people. Yes, for-profit schools reach the higher demand for higher education for students and create billions in revenue. But the question that needs to be answered is not if it does, but if it is worth it. The cost and accessibility might look pleasing, however as stated before the cost of higher education is not just the price tag. I believe the indirect cost of attending public or private schools have a much bigger impact than many people might think. The opportunities, experience, and future are all things that make the cost of universities worth it.


  31. I think state schools and community colleges are extremely helpful in maintaining college costs. On average it costs out-of-state students over eight thousand dollars more per year than in-state students. And community college students on average paid over 14 thousand dollars less per year. And if your state has a transfer program for state schools or you just do well at community college and transfer to a university you can graduate with a prestigious degree and get the same jobs that people who went there all four years get and you paid less money. But many people still pay much more money than they have to because they want to attend private and out-of-state schools for a variety of reasons. People go to private and out-of-state schools for reasons like better weather, a fresh start, or a more prestigious degree. It seems foolish to pay way more than you have to for an education but some would argue college is just as much about an experience as an education, and as someone who did it it is totally worth it, especially when you are not paying. On average people who go to college make around a million dollars more than people who do not, so what is a little extra money to make it the best four years of your life versus just another four. That being said, I have always thought it was ridiculous how much people pay for college. It seems like we could just have a couple more years like high school and other colleges in other countries are much less. Spain, for example, pays less than 2,000 dollars per year for public school tuition on average. But the demand for people wanting to go to college is at an all-time high, so colleges have all the control. But I see the control shifting away from them with more companies starting cheap alternatives to college like Coursera and Google University.


    Brunicardi, Tim. “Community College vs University: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.” The Hocking College Experience, 2018,

    “In-State vs. Out-of-State Tuition.” In-State vs. Out-of-State Tuition | HEATH Resource Center | The George Washington University, George Washington University,,they%20are%20not%20a%20resident.

    “Social Security Administration.” Research Summary: Education and Lifetime Earnings, Social Security, 2015,

    Portillo, Carolina. “The US vs. Spain: The Cost of a College Education.” The Montclarion, 12 Dec. 2018,

  32. The problem of rising tuition cost is one that has multiple different factors associated with it. But rather then view the problem on purely empirical data, instead accounting for a commonly overlooked factor may bring a new point of view on why tuition rates have risen so much.
    A common assumption is that on average those who receive any level of higher education make more than those with just a college degree. This assumption is backed by evidence from the Bureau of Labor Statistics ( who found that the median weekly income of individuals with just a high school diploma is around $712 while those with an bachelor’s degree is $1,173. This leads to a difference of $461 per week. This number multiplied by 52 weeks is an annual difference of $23,972. This number at face value can represent why there is a demand for a college degree among individuals. This leads to a high supply of applicants for universities. According to The Ivy Coach, ( schools like Columbia, Penn, and Harvard are receiving well over 30,000 applicants despite a lower than 15% acceptance rate in 2020. This high toll of applicants due to the nature of the prestigious university which almost guarantees a job in your degree major, right? Not exactly as a study conducted by two members of Federal Reserve Bank in New York ( , found that in 2013 only 27.3% of college graduates are working closely in the field related to the major the graduated in. Notably this study is now 8 years old and new data needs to be collected, it does raise the question of what exactly the college degree signifies. As previously established the average individual possessing a college degree makes more than an individual without however, if graduates are receiving jobs in completely different fields, it is possible that degrees are simply a measure of aptitude. Measuring an individual’s potential as well as compensating them for paying high tuition in years to earn a college degree. If there were no incentive to achieve higher education, then this would break the supply demand loop that accounts for one explanation into the higher tuition.

  33. I do believe that instutions such as communinity colleges provide assistance in containing the cost for college. Last year, I attended The Citadel: The Military College of South Carolina where I completeed my entire freshman year as an out-of-state resident. After Financial-Aid, the term bill came out to be somewhere around $48,000/year. Without a scholarship, I did not deem it worthwhile to plunge myself into that much debt over the next 4 years so I decided to move back to in-state. Last semester I attended Reynolds Community College where I took a majority of the same General-Education classes for a meer fraction of the price (1/20th to be exact). During that semester at Reynolds I was able to realign with my goals and applied to JMU and had it not been for the low-cost of community college I fear I would have payed a lot more for those Gen-Ed credits than I would’ve wanted to. According to the article however, if state funding continues to reduce funds to community colleges, these institutions will either have to rely on private funding or raise their tuition prices.

  34. Undoubtedly the cost of higher education has risen to unprecedented levels over the past two decades which has led it to become a national concern. As of 2020 1-8 Americans( approximately 42.9 million) have some form of student debt as a result of seeking higher education. I can understand the many people in debt since I myself am in debt. Many of the individuals in debt including myself have come across the same issue. Our income level is too high to be granted sufficient financial aid, and since the majority of us are in the middle class we aren’t able to fully cover the costs of the tuition. Therefore, we had to take out large loans in order to cover the payment. I am of the opinion that state schools are not helpful in containing student costs. While they do indeed cost less than out of state schools, they still have the same underlying problems as out of state schools. Student debt accounts for the majority of the country’s debt. With the increases to college tuition and student debt, the question of is higher education worth the cost has become prevalent. According to research from the National Center for Education Statistics since 1980, average college tuition costs rose by 1200%, while accounting for the 236% rise in inflation. Since 1980 the average cost of an undergraduate tuition including fees for a public college was $1,856 and the private college costs were $10,227. If we hold 1980 as the base year the CPI percent change in tuition and fees is 0%. As of 2020 the average cost of an undergraduate tuition including fees for a public college is now $9,403 and the private college costs are $34,059. The CPI percent change for both private and public school tuition and fees is 1198.9%. It should be noted that tuition and fees are in 2018-19 dollars for these statistics. Over the course of all four year at a four year institution roughly about $104,480 have been spent on the cost of higher education. To bring a personal experience to the discussion, I will describe my experience. I went to an in-state school before coming to Jmu. While attending that school I was not accepted any financial aid due to my family’s income, however, my family is in no way rich. We could not cover the cost of the tuition and received no help from the college. As a result I had to transfer from one in-state college to another. As there are two sides in all debates I will lay out information for the opposing side. These costs in higher education can be attributed to state funding and more people seeking higher education. In the case of state funding since the Great Recession of 2009, universities still have yet recovered from this event. Their assets went to more pressing matters like health care and as a result it increased college tuition. Since most jobs now require a diploma more people have been seeking higher education. However with more people leads to a greater need of resources. An increased demand for federal aid and funding has led to less money being available per student. Even though I am aware of this information, I still maintain my point of not believing state schools are helpful in containing college tuition. I maintain my point because state schools still lead to insurmountable amounts of student debt. With college tuition raising for both in state and out of state because of the covid it is uncertain how higher education will proceed after the crisis.
    AbigailJHess. (2019, December 13). The cost of college increased by more than 25% in the last 10 Years-here’s why. Retrieved April 09, 2021, from
    Bhutada, G. (2021, February 04). The rising cost of college in the U.S. Retrieved April 09, 2021, from
    Maldonado, C. (2021, January 11). Price of college increasing almost 8 times faster than wages. Retrieved April 09, 2021, from

  35. College has become an increasing expense for students attempting to attend. Today college is an expense that could leave you with a lifetime of debt if money isn’t managed properly. Expenses like this often bring up the question; is a college degree really worth all the money put in to get one? According to, people who graduate with a bachelor’s degree can make on average nearly double the money as someone who didn’t attend college. Although it sounds like attending college is clearly worth it, these people are often left with a hundred thousand dollars in debt. So, after years of smart financing and hard work, college debt can be paid off ultimately leading to more money for students who attend college. Students who don’t attend college may also be able to get a good job and be even more successful than someone who does. This leaves the question to whether college is worth it when accounting all the expenses. Clearly people who don’t get degree will find it much more difficult to succeed in life, but it is still possible. For people who grow up in impoverished areas can find it very difficult to consider going to college. I believe college is too expensive and discourages people from attending. College tuition has to be lowered to ensure fairness to everyone who wants to attend college. A free college education system is an idea but would never see the light of day. What we need instead is free or cheap online courses set up to ensure students’ success. A system like this can be set up in a way that anyone can attend online through prerecorded lectures. People who can’t afford a college education can take online college courses through Universities as a cheap or free alternative to attending college. Not only will this encourage more people to obtain a higher level of education, but it may even improve our economy. There is a direct correlation between the amount of people attending college and the county’s GDP. Having an incentive to get a college degree can be a serious boost to our economy. As a country we must make sure everyone has a fair and equal chance of obtaining a college degree because it allows people to get higher paying jobs.

  36. Rising tuition costs at universities nationwide has put a burden on many American students and their families. In just the past decade, according to CNBC, the cost of private universities has increased 26%, and the cost of public universities has risen 35%. The Great Recession in 2008 & 2009 caused public funds to plummet, which in turn led to a rapid rise in tuition costs. This is evident when analyzing state funds for universities in 2008 vs 2018. After adjusting for inflation, state funds in 2008 were $6.6 billion dollars higher than in 2018. Given the fact that income per family in the US has risen at a slower rate than the cost of tuition, it is significantly more expensive and more difficult to attend and pay for college than it was in past decades. More than half of students and their families have turned to loans to help pay tuition, which has resulted in a total of $1.6 trillion dollars of student debt, according to Sallie Mae, author of “How America Pays for College.” These students will typically graduate $30k in debt. About 80% of students use scholarships and grants to pay for tuition, which does not have to be paid back, but many of these scholarships are small.
    My dad attended the Pennsylvania State University back in the early 1990’s, and he told me that tuition was roughly $8k per year. I was accepted to Penn State for the 2020-2021 school year, and my in-state tuition was over $29k per year, including room and board for both. While these numbers have not been adjusted for inflation, my dad came from a lower income family in inner city Philadelphia, and PSU was still affordable for him. I would potentially have had to take out loans. In the CNBC article, they mention that three decades ago, tuition made up about 25% of college revenue, with state and local governments covering about 75%. Today, it is approximately 50% each. My dad attended college three decades ago, which partially reflects the spike in tuition, with the 2008 recession being another reason.


  37. In many generations of my family, it was believed that people should go to college and earn a degree be successful or not, struggling from paycheck to paycheck. The proportion of people aged 25-34 years old having college degrees has increased almost 10% in the past decade backing the fact that the demand for degrees has increased. The 25 to 34-year-olds with college degrees earn on average 38% more than people without degrees in that same age range. However, in the past decade, many people have defied that statistic. A recent study ranks “social media star as the fourth most popular career aspiration for Gen Z”. Social media influencers can become millionaires overnight with some skill and luck. For example, Addison Rae, at the age of 19 began creating Tik Toks of her dancing, and in the past two years has made almost $5 million from her videos and sponsorships. Millions of dollars have been invested into these influencers to attend top-level colleges as leverage to get higher numbers of applicants. Most of the young influencers decide to disregard college and pursue their career on social media. Addison Rae is a prime example of this, as she was supposed to attend college in the fall but saw no advantage in attending because her net worth is already over $5 million. In a generation of entrepreneurs and influencers, if they are successful then those people see college as a second option because of the market created for social media. College is considered the safer route than influencers, but both options affect the GDP in similar ways. People with bachelor’s degrees in the last 20 years have accounted for a 3.2% increase in real GDP based on one of my classmate’s calculations. Although higher education increases GDP, Youtube, Tik Tok, and other social media platforms have raised an argument that college is not necessary for everyone, and along with those aspiring people, more and more jobs are opening up for influencers just like new businesses. Companies have spent over $1.3 billion on marketing over Instagram in 2019 creating more business, demand, and increasing GDP across the country. In the 21st century, entrepreneurs and influencers have made large strides to boost the economy and find alternative ways to become financially sustainable without having major student debt from college.


  38. It is no question anymore whether getting a higher education should be done. We live in a society where getting a degree is almost a must if you want to earn a livable wage in the United States. So if it is necessary, how can people reduce the ever-rising costs of getting a higher education? I believe state schools, as well as community colleges, are excellent ways for students to reduce the cost of college. This in turn would help with the rising student debt problem in America. People have a misconception that they have to go to the best graduate school, program, or degree for all four years and that there is no way to get past the inflated costs of the “prestigious” out-of-state schools. However, there are some things wrong with that thought process though. First of all, there is the option to transfer from a cheaper, in-state, four-year university after one or two years. There is, on average, an $8,990 difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition per year. That can run up the already costly prices a lot if you chose an out-of-state school for the whole time you attend college. Secondly, people can transfer from a community college to a four-year institute after a year or two. The difference between a community college and a four-year institutes tuition can be upwards of a $30,000 difference per year; Some may see community college as beneath them, but if you transfer out of it and into a university, the degree you get is still from whatever university you graduated from. You also did not have to pay the ridiculous cost of tuition for the whole four years. Another option, that would save people money, would be for people to go to an in-state college for their whole undergraduate instead of going out of state. There is always an option to get your master’s degree from an out-of-state school and in that case, the prestige of your undergraduate degree would mean far less. To conclude, state schools, as well as community colleges, are great ways to reduce the overall cost of college in many different scenarios and should be taken advantage of more often than they are.,What%20is%20the%20cost%20difference%20on%20average%20between%20in%2Dstate,average%20cost%20difference%20is%20%248%2C990.

    1. Hi Dawson,

      I agree that community colleges and cheaper higher education programs are better options for people looking for low-cost education that still will lead to a successful working career. There is a big problem with rising college prices right now and we are seeing a huge increase in the number of loans taken by students. From 2016 to 2017, “the total annual amount of federal student loans borrowed increased from $49 billion to a whopping $94 billion, an increase of nearly 4.5% a year.” (1) This correlates to the fact that prices of college are rising quickly, faster even than the average rate of inflation. These increases should be an eye-opening experience to some, letting them know how expensive college can get, and why other options might be fiscally better. This statistic just goes to show how many people are going to be in debt in the upcoming years. With all this said, I however do not agree with your first statement that it is no question that getting a higher education should be done. For starters, I believe college and its necessity for success have a positive correlation, but by no means does anyone need a degree to be successful in life. I feel the notion of college being the gateway to high-paying, “white collar” jobs is unfair and swayed because there are limitless paths to attain success. However, college is still one of those great paths and is beneficial for future aspirations. It just depends on the person. There are numerous successful cases of people with or without higher educations.

      Works Cited:
      Ma, Roger. “How The Federal Government Could Control College Costs.”
      Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 15 Dec. 2020,

  39. I believe that there is a strong correlation between higher education and macroeconomic outcomes. The first stage of education in America is known as preschool. The preschool system allows parents to get back into the workforce sooner and provides a babysitter for parents that cannot afford one. Parents will be able to work more hours more often when they have someone taking care of their children. According to policy brief #153 “the impact of a high-quality universal preschool policy on economic growth, concluding that such a policy could add $2 trillion to annual U.S. GDP by 2080. By 2080, a national program would cost the federal government approximately $59 billion (Sawhill, 2016).” That is a staggering profit of 1 trillion 941 billion dollars. While there is an opportunity cost associated with investing in education it is a reliably successful choice. I am not arguing that increasing education may provide the best increase in GDP, but it is an important one. Furthermore, societies like the United States are becoming post industrial and more knowledge based. These societies must invest in human capital because the type of output is changing. According to Powell, the income that a person with a bachelors or advanced degree makes has been on the rise compared to high school graduates (2004). From 1975 to 1999 the gap between high school income and higher education is getting larger. In America, the new standard for labor output is requiring more education. Educated workers are more productive, efficient, adaptive, and creative. Sawhill explains “Dale Jorgenson and Kevin Stiroh puts the contribution of education to economic growth at 8.7 percent of total growth over the period 1959 to 1998 and 13 percent of growth in output per worker (2016).” If education can increase at the same rate for the next 40 years as it did for the past 40 years, then GDP may be able to increase another 8.7 percent. Increases in GDP can generally correlate to higher income per capita and higher standard of living. According to FRED, the current GDP in America is 21,494.731 (in billions of dollars). This 8.7 percent increase would mean education is responsible for an additional 1,870 (in billions of dollars) without adjusting for inflation in the next 40 years. Those opposed to the idea that higher education promotes growth in GDP may argue that people are staying in school longer which decreases the work force. While this has a “temporarily negative impact on output. However, once these students graduate their additional schooling enhances their productivity, yielding a positive impact on output (Sawhill, 2016).”

    Sawhill, Isabel V., et al. “The Effects of Investing in Early Education on Economic Growth.” Brookings, Brookings, 28 July 2016,
    Powell, Walter W, and Kaisa Snellman. The Knowledge Economy. 2004,

  40. Today kids have the internet and libraries to access any textbook they need. College students also have access things like Khan Academy and others that can help students virtually teach themselves. So why do students around the world spend a fortune on big universities, It can’t be that we don’t have access to the material without them, so why are we spending so much money many of us don’t have to go to big private colleges.
    In 2019 the number of student loan borrowers was about 43 million people, 2.8 of which owe $100,000+. In recent years the average debt for recent years for private for-profit schools is $39,000. Bottom line a lot of money for a lot of people to owe for really starting their careers. So why do this over the alternative?
    On theory in the word’s of billionaire Elon Musk college is “basically for fun and not for learning”. Fair enough this is definitely true in some cases. According to a study conducted by Niznik Behavioral Health found 27% of their participants in their survey went to college to party. 24% of those picked a school where partying was more popular over a school that offered an academic scholarship.
    For the major of students partying is not why they are choosing these expensive big private universities. Going to college today is more about getting a degree to get a job, then it is about actually about learning. With that being said kids apply and go to these school thinking “what place is going to get me the best job after college”. So they pick these big private school that cost a lot but for the opportunity job using their schools reputation, network, alumni, etc. to put themselves in the best spot to land a high paying job. Despite having access to the same material if you go to college or not, if you don’t have the degree it’s practically impossible to get anywhere even if you have the knowledge.

  41. From my understanding of college during the COVID-19 pandemic, I still believe attending a university is important, not only for education but also to further develop your social skills. Entering JMU this year, the in-state tuition is $23k. Out of state is around $40k. In comparison, NOVA Community College has an in-state tuition of %5k and out-of-state tuition of $11k. I think this is a much better option if you did not want to spend as much money. Why go to a university then? Although NOVA provides a degree, most community college students won’t land as much as a high-paying job compared to someone who went to a university. Since 2010, tuition prices have risen around the country at an alarming rate of 60%. I do not think there’s much to do to solve this problem. More and more students every year are attending universities, so I do not feel a reason to believe the college should cut back prices. Especially with everything becoming much more expensive as time goes on. I think that paying for college, online or not, is still worth it in the long run of things, as most online learning companies are used for more of a studying aspect.


  42. The goal of obtaining a college degree has been a certainty or an impossibility depending on an individual’s ability to afford it. Looking at the economics behind a college education, the average annual cost of tuition was approximately $10,000 for in-state public and over $40,000 for private schools. Tuition has increased in the past 20 years by 144% for private schools and 212% for public schools.
    What person attending school can actually afford that? Very few apparently. Nearly 2/3 of all public school graduates have student loans and about ¾ of all private school graduates have student loans.
    With financial aid and loans available, the means to becoming a college graduate have allowed a significant number of students to achieving the goal of being a college graduate and thus attaining professional employment. Yet this is not the case. In 2019 a third of all college graduates are working in jobs that do not require a college degree.
    What is more problematic is that college graduates that finished in the bottom half of their class have not seen any wage growth over the past 20 years.
    And these statistics are all based on college graduates, there is another 40% of students that drop out of college annually, presumably having student loans.
    How can schools keep increasing tuitions with statistics like that? One thing to remember is that colleges and universities are a business. They employ millions of individuals directly and also a primary revenue source for the surrounding cities and towns. It would be highly unpopular both politically and economically to force schools to put a cap or reduce tuition. Also higher tuitions could simply be a product of supply and demand. With a rise in the global economy, more students from other nations have the means to attend U.S universities.
    One of the biggest results with the rise in tuition and student loans becomes the widening of the wealth gap. There is a high likelihood that even with a college degree you may end up with a job that doesn’t pay enough to get you out of debt, let alone accumulate wealth.
    There is a growing call for student debt cancellation to allow people not to be burdened, but this doesn’t answer the employment issue. Positive government intervention such as the proposed infrastructure spending bill will allow more jobs to be created and thus allowing qualified college graduates to obtain employment in their field of study. Interestingly enough, this bill also will create many jobs that don’t require a college degree, so this could reduce the supply of students attending college and force schools to rethink what they are charging.

  43. Part 1
    When graduating high school, and trying to figure out college or career paths that you want to take, it can be a very difficult decision. When it comes to college, personally I believe that I was meant to go to school and further my education. That being said, if I made that decision to go to college I would be in a lot of debt after I graduate. After looking into an article by Tim Stobierski who is a marketing specialist. He found that students who do not further their education have a higher chance of becoming unemployed, he stated in the article that the average unemployment rate for students who only have a GED is 3.7%, opposed to the unemployment rate of 2.2% if you have a bachelor’s degree. He then went on to show that the salary between students with a GED and students with a bachelor’s degree is almost doubled. After reading about this article, I realize that this situation is a lose lose. If students decide not to go to college they run a higher risk of becoming unemployed and making significantly less in their salaries. If you decide you do want to go to college, and it is not possible for help from financial aid, or your parents, then you will be in an enormous amount of debt after getting out. I feel community college is a middle ground between these two decisions. Community college is just as beneficial as a 4 year university when it comes to getting a higher education, fortunately community colleges are on average $3,440 a year, which is a great option for kids who will have to take out loans to attend college. Students in community college often go to the one closest to their home, therefore, a lot of students do not have to worry about paying for places to live, or also paying for a meal plan, which compared to a 4 year university, a lot of the money you pay goes towards that.

    No matter what inflation will keep rising and so will the cost of college. The world is a very competitive place, and colleges will keep rising their tuition prices because the demand for that bachelors or masters degree is also going to keep rising. That is why a lot of students decide that they would rather go to a 4 year university and have debt because they know that a degree will get them a good job when they graduate.


  44. First, let’s look at some data. The real median household income in the United States in 2019 is $68,703 ( “The average cost of tuition and fees at a ranked in-state public college is about 72% less than the average sticker price at a private college, at $9,687 for the 2020-2021 year compared with $35,087, respectively, U.S. News data shows. That average cost for out-of-state students at public colleges comes to $21,184 for the same year” ( From the data, we can see that even the parents in a middle-class family do not spend any money on themselves and pay back loans, they still cannot afford to send two children to private universities at the same time, which shows that the tuition and fees of private universities are far beyond the reach of ordinary families. I think that state universities and community colleges and other public schools can be helpful in controlling college costs. There are two sides to every coin, public schools can curb the growth of college costs, but they can also contribute to the growth of college costs. Here comes the second question, “Why do so many students pay so much more to attend certain non-profit private universities?” The answer is simple because private colleges are better. Age around twenty is the most valuable time for young people, and no one wants to go to a simple or poor college to spend what should be a good four years. In a market where there are only two commodities, everyone will choose the private university, but of course, this is a choice made without considering the tuition and other costs of the university. In my opinion, if the quality of public schools is improved, including public universities and public high schools, and other public schools, then more students will choose public schools. Based on supply and demand, this is the time when private schools have to lower the price of themselves as a commodity to attract more customers.
    American public education, once the model for the world’s education system, but today ranks at the bottom of the developed world for students in both natural science and reading skills. Behind this regression is the rise of a large interest group, the teachers’ union, which has politicized and complicated education. In the early days, public school teachers were often housewives and poorly paid. As a result, teachers’ unions also aimed to secure employment for disadvantaged low-income people. But with the special status of education and a large number of members, the unions, and their leadership, became increasingly aware of their political influence during the civic political movements since the 1960s and 1970s, and eventually became a special interest group. Because of the close bipartisan relationship with teachers’ unions, all levels of government, from federal to state, have been reluctant to come into conflict with them. With this political advantage, the rules of the U.S. education system have tilted dramatically in favor of teachers’ unions. “In Illinois, where one in 57 doctors loses his medical license and one in 97 lawyers loses his law license, only one in 2,500 teachers loses his credentials, because of union rules” ( The reason for this is that schools have a “tenure system” in the form of labor agreements with teachers, with the intervention of unions. This concept originated in American university education, where tenure was required to protect academic freedom and independence. However, the criteria for tenure at universities are so cumbersome and lengthy that only a few people are able to obtain it. Public school teachers, however, are automatically granted tenure after two years of teaching, regardless of the quality of their teaching. But today’s teachers’ unions, for their own benefit, have become completely indifferent to whether their students are getting a good education. “In 1998, it spent nearly $7 million to defeat Proposition 8 which would have used student performance as a criterion for teacher reviews and would have required educators to pass credentialing examinations in their disciplines and more than $2 million in a failed attempt to block Proposition 227, which eliminated bilingual education in public schools” (
    In my opinion, the low quality of teaching in public schools leads students to favor private schools, which take advantage of their advantages to raise tuition. Higher and higher tuition creates a virtuous cycle in private schools. Fewer and fewer students create a vicious cycle in public schools. But how can politicians who care about votes reform teachers’ unions to improve the quality of teaching in public schools, after all, their children all go to good private schools, right?

  45. The non-profit vs for-profit education conversation is heavily debated. Which choice is the right choice? I believe if you are going to invest in education, that choice is up to you and what you want to accomplish, but overall I think non-profit is the more efficient option. As for me, I ended up at a public, non-profit university and chose that over my other options like for-profit schools for a multitude of reasons but a couple of big ones were the average graduation rate and the idea of profiting off students. In my senior year of high school, representatives from Full-Sail University ( a for-profit school) in Florida came in a cool bus full of advanced technology and video games, which were pretty fun. They did a good job at attracting potential students to their school. For-profit schools were never in my considerations so I didn’t give it much thought at the time, and I am glad I did. This is because they forgot to mention that their average graduation rate was 25%. This statistic astonishes me because to me it shows the true intent of the school is not benefiting the students but their investors more so. Between 2012 to 2018, “the 6-year graduation rate was 61 percent at public institutions, 67 percent at private nonprofit institutions, and 25 percent at private for-profit institutions,” (1). The huge gap between for-profit schools and their counterparts is a good representation of how for-profit universities are not reaching their full potential in teaching their students, but instead focusing on the business side. The fact that 75% of the students don’t graduate should be blamed on the university and their measures to keeping students engaged and on their path. For-profit schools also are not notoriously as successful as non-profit schools in their success and longevity, and “of all the colleges that have closed since 2013, 95.5% of them were for-profit institutions” (2) This goes to show, for-profit universities are very business-based and are also way more frequently seen to be giving up on their students and shutting down as if they were a company. These two statistics are very relevant and recognize the flaws in for-profit schools. While some people have great experiences and go on to have great careers, the facts show the opposite for the majority of students at for-profit institutions. For-profits are not as successful overall in providing and facilitating education to their students. Overall, it is up to the individual, but for-profit schools are not as efficient and are historically more unsuccessful than non-profit. To compare JMU and Full Sail University, in 2016 JMU’s tuition increased 4%, Full Sail’s tuition increased 15.65%. (3) Since for-profit colleges are a business, they have no problem increasing the tuition rates by huge percentages each year if it will benefit their investors. As for non-profit colleges, while their prices do increase yearly, it is usually at a steadier rate that wouldn’t jump to 15% like Full-Sail.

    Works Cited

    (1)“Graduation Rates.” National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Home Page, a Part of the U.S. Department of Education,,at%20private%20for%2Dprofit%20institutions.

    (2)Newton, Derek. “20,000 More Reasons To Never Go To A For-Profit School.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 10 Dec. 2018,

    (3) “Full Sail University Tuition Trends.” College Tuition Compare,

  46. There has always been a certain draw towards non-profit private universities like the Ivy’s. People go to extreme lengths to get their children into these schools. This was made even more evident in the recent college admissions scandal of 2019 or “Operation Varsity Blues”. Obviously there are other universities that are also private non-profit universities like Liberty University, American University, Northeastern University, and numerous others. They all meet the requirements of being a non-profit by reinvesting a majority of their earnings back into the university so that they can have the best and most up to date facilities, equipment, and faculty. This plays a large part in why these universities are so highly regarded. They have the best of the best, so people are more than willing to pay for their high prices if that means their children are able to attend these universities. They can almost justify their high prices by showing the evidence that their earnings are being reinvested to the betterment of the university as a whole. It can be argued that the high prices of these schools prohibit bright students who were accepted, but cannot afford to attend these universities, from achieving the same status as others who are fortunate enough to be able to accept their offer to attend these schools. This being said, these highly ranked universities, like the Ivy’s are less likely to lower their prices because they need the profit to keep their school on top, and they know no matter what, if one person cannot pay to go there, thousands of others will. With the information provided above that included how part of Biden’s election platform was student debt forgiveness, this cycle of exclusion based on cost may come to an end. The idea that someone who normally would not be able to attend a university could now be able to, and not be drowning in terrible debt right after graduating is life changing for many. This could play a major role in giving any student an equal opportunity to receive the best education possible based on merit and not based on the money they have available to them. These highly ranked, low acceptance rate universities would still be able to keep their prestige by only accepting the best students while simultaneously improving the inclusivity of their student body. In my opinion non-profit private universities should be fully ready to change the way they accept students to their universities and get rid of all the bribes and “legacy status” issues that have been brought to the public’s attention in recent years. Their goal should be to get the most suitable students into their programs and give them the tools necessary to be successful no matter their socioeconomic status.


  47. Obtaining a college education is objectively one of the most costly expenses an individual in today’s society makes in their life. However, it was not always this way. According to an article from Best Value Schools, the cost of higher education has increased more than 538% since the year of 1985. Furthermore, an article by BusinessInsider shows how the average cost of a four-year tuition in 1980 was $9,438, compared to $23,872 in 2014. However, while these numbers have exponentially increased and are definitely shocking, the argument that a college degree is a worthwhile investment despite its costs still withstands. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, individuals with a bachelor’s degree earn $524 more in median weekly earnings than those with just a high school diploma. This is obviously a significant difference and is evidence that displays the importance of receiving higher education. However, it is also very apparent that education is becoming less affordable to the public, hence the ongoing dilemma for many Americans and politicians.
    So how can people maximize the benefits of higher education while keeping their costs at a minimum? Are state schools an efficient way to contain college costs?
    Like a few of the other blog comments discussed, I also believe that community and in-state colleges are a route to take for those looking for an affordable education. Especially with the current circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 crisis, many Americans have directly experienced the effects of unemployment and financial predicaments in their communities. As stated in an article from BestColleges, community colleges can provide a cost-effective alternative, with students paying an annual $3,770, which is far more affordable than the traditional four-year tuition. Starting out at a community college can also come with opportunities to transfer your credits to your target university. Rooming and transportation costs will also be reduced, since students can typically commute from their own homes. This will allow them to save a large amount of money their first two years or so before attending the university they actually wish to study at. The 2020 Democratic Party platform also advocated for better investing in community colleges and training, which could possibly stimulate the future growth of these institutions.
    Choosing to go to in-state public universities is also another reasonable option. Many students choose this route because of the heavily reduced expenses. According to the 2020-21 numbers from BestColleges, the average tuition for in-state students was $10,560, while the average out-of-state cost was $27,020. Both community and in-state colleges also provide flexibility in the aspect that it is usually easier for students to work jobs simultaneously, own their own vehicles, and be close to home.
    Lastly, I believe that some form of tuition-free college should be offered. According to U.S.News, the average student loan debt reached $30,000 in 2019. In the long run, free tuition can provide to the lowering of this debt, and students can live without the burden of constantly paying back their loans. Ultimately, these individuals can contribute more value to the economy.


  48. College tuition has risen drastically over the last few decades and it has been difficult to come up with a solution that works. Conversations about this topic have been growing intensely ever since the 2020 presidential election. As a first-generation college student myself, I have been closely following the subject. Studies have shown roughly 44 million Americans carry an estimated $1.5 trillion student loan (1). This is such a huge burden that depositional affecting middle and lower-class families, as well as racial minorities in the country. I believe that one way we can tackle this issue is trying to contain college costs by investing in state schools such as community colleges. One of the commitments President Biden made during his campaign was investing in community colleges and training to make them more affordable or free (1). This will allow individuals to pursue careers and get jobs that pay well and have more benefits. Public university tuition has almost tripled over the last three decades (2). This is so discouraging for most students graduating high school and trying to find an education that is affordable for them. Investing more in this kind of institution will allow more individuals to get degrees and certifications. This means that more people can participate in the labor economy which will be beneficial for the United States as a whole. The coronavirus pandemic effect in our economy has delayed and cut a lot of community college and state college funding. In Virginia alone, the general assembly cut $71 million in funding from programs that provide free community college for students in February 2020(3). This doesn’t just decrease funding but it will halt the idea of free community college plans for years to come. Although this climate has created a bit of a setback in implementing laws and regulations that can decrease college costs, there is still hope for future generations. We can prevent people from ending up with the huge burden of loans right after university. This can be achieved by focusing on creating and supporting more affordable colleges. While also tackling the different barriers that might prevent students from succeeding in getting higher education in the US.


  49. Today, many high school graduates go directly to college, something that is very normal. With this, many schools know that in todays world one almost needs a college degree to be successful, as the job market is very saturated with workers who have degrees. Because of this, many colleges have been able to raise their prices because they can and they know that the government will always give out loans to students. “In a 2015 study, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that every $1 increase in subsidized loan amount maximums led to a 60 cent increase in sticker price tuition, while a $1 increase in unsubsidized loan maximums led to a 40 cent increase in sticker price tuition.” (Ma). This statistic shows how government loans have a direct impact in the tuition costs of college. I believe that federal student loans should be more difficult to attain, not because people shouldn’t have the opportunity to go to college, its that as long as the government gives out more money, then colleges know that they can charge whatever price and they will always get the money for it. Furthermore, as our country grows and even more attend, the problem wont be solved until a stand is taken and less money is given out.

  50. ## Comment SPAM Protection: Shield Security marked this comment as “Trash”. Reason: Failed Bot Test (expired) ##
    First, this is a topic that is so much deeper than what lies at the surface. The desire, for many students, to receive higher education beyond college is most definitely there, as approximately 19.6 million students were enrolled in either undergraduate or graduate degree programs in 2018. Many have taken advantage of the benefits to a public or state institution (lower costs, admissions requirements, etc.), but not all opt for this path. As someone who almost chose to attend a private college instead, I can see the appeal of both options. Private institutions almost always have fewer students than large state schools, and with federal and private funding, financial aid is awarded more generously. While the “sticker price” is much higher than at a state school, students almost never pay the full amount, be it through scholarships, grants, and work studies. Even if aid is difficult to come by, students will also choose private colleges for the prestige and level of education they might receive (Princeton, Harvard, Georgetown, Johns Hopkins, etc). After all, they aren’t revered around the world as the “Ivy Leagues” for nothing.
    Just as with choosing a career, selecting what school you wish to attend can be an incredibly complicated and detail-oriented decision, and there is often no one clear choice. With the surge of the pandemic and the ever increasing demand for distance and online learning, there are groups already in existence who are benefiting from these times, those who have already conquered the obstacles associated with online learning. When schools like UVA and MIT offer free courses, they are not offering the degree for free; I believe that the push is for image and making the schools look a certain way in the public eye. When schools offer entire courses for free, I believe that while their admissions might not increase a whole lot, they will get more prospective high school seniors and even transfers begging to come.
    There has developed a negative connotation associated with for-profit institutions, and it doesn’t just lie with students and their families. Companies and employers know about these schools, and are often skeptical of the academics and quality of students that they graduate. When a candidate applies to a biological lab but came from a Christian university where the concept of “Creationism” is taught instead of “Evolution”, there is a gross disconnect and the candidate faces a very slim chance of being employed. These institutions have been dubbed “diploma mills”, and if they offered a decent education at a fraction of what other schools were charging, that might be a point in their favor, but for-profit schools are often wildly more expensive than state or even private schools. In my opinion, for-profit schools need to take a good hard look at what they charge and what they offer before they are forced to close their doors, and the overall crisis of student debt and rising college costs needs to be addressed immediately, before it becomes even more out of control.

  51. On average, my high school does not pump out college-ready students. Though many students chose to go to university, many of them ended up dropping out. Since both of my parents work in the school system, this is something that I knew from a very early age. However, there’s been a recent development in each year’s senior class since then. Instead of taking the leap and going to a four-year institution, many of the seniors decide to attend a community college for two years, then deciding whether to continue their education at a state university or enter the workforce. I think that this development is very helpful for containing the college costs for lower-income students and families. It provides higher education from a different source than the students are used to, which could, in turn, benefit that student into being more knowledgeable as they enter the workforce. For those willing to learn, State schools like community colleges could also be an effective way for in-state students to knock out some general classes before going to the more expensive public university. In the Princeton Review’s article titled “4 Reasons to Consider Community College”, three of the four reasons have something to do with the financial commitment of attending a 4-year school, “save on tuition, save on room and board, and work while in school”. While this option wasn’t particularly popular a decade ago, today we see more and more High School seniors decide to go to Community College first to save money and to get the same degree as those students who are paying more to go to a public university all four years.

  52. Student loan debt on average is the second largest cost and source of debt for most Americans after purchasing a home. While a college degree can be a great investment in oneself that can drastically increase lifetime earnings the question that many asks is why is college so expensive and what ways are there to decrease the cost of college?
    One great way for students to limit their college costs is to be smart consumers and understand what they are paying and how to eliminate unnecessary expenditures. Even before attending college, students can take AP or dual enrollment courses which offer between three and four credit hours for free. The tuition for a single credit hour at JMU costs between $221-$240 for in-state students and between $794-$805 for out of state students, so taking just one AP or dual enrollment course could save students thousands of dollars. They also add the extra benefit of preparing students for college. For students looking to dramatically limit their college costs, a two-year community college is a great place to start. Community colleges are much cheaper even than in state universities and offer just as good an education. The first two years of college are often filled with general education requirements in large lecture halls, so there isn’t as much interaction with professors of a students major. Due to the limited costs of community college, students have more choices about whether to continue their education, because they can drop out with their associates degree without being saddled with massive debt that they may have had if they had gone to a four-year university and dropped out. Food and housing are added expenses to the tuition cost of attending university and are often overlooked by students when choosing which university to attend. When considering where to attend college students should look at the cost of on campus and off campus housing to determine what the future costs will be to them. Different schools will have different off-campus living expenses in the form of rent. It’s important to consider that rent isn’t the only expense of living off campus. Food, transportation, and utilities will also factor into the cost of living. An easy way to limit college expenses is to investigate all scholarship opportunities available. There are often numerous different scholarships available to students within their community that are often overlooked and uncontested. Even a scholarship of a few hundred dollars begins to add up quickly.


  53. The non-profit vs for-profit education conversation is heavily debated. Which choice is the right choice? I believe if you are going to invest in education, that choice is up to you and what you want to accomplish, but overall I think non-profit is the more efficient option. As for me, I ended up at a public, non-profit university and chose that over my other options like for-profit schools for a multitude of reasons but a couple of big ones were the average graduation rate and the idea of profiting off students. In my senior year of high school, representatives from Full-Sail University ( a for-profit school) in Florida came in a cool bus full of advanced technology and video games, which were pretty fun. They did a good job at attracting potential students to their school. For-profit schools were never in my considerations so I didn’t give it much thought at the time, and I am glad I did. This is because they forgot to mention that their average graduation rate was 25%. This statistic astonishes me because to me it shows the true intent of the school is not benefiting the students but their investors more so. Between 2012 to 2018, “the 6-year graduation rate was 61 percent at public institutions, 67 percent at private nonprofit institutions, and 25 percent at private for-profit institutions,” (1). The huge gap between for-profit schools and their counterparts is a good representation of how for-profit universities are not reaching their full potential in teaching their students, but instead focusing on the business side. The fact that 75% of the students don’t graduate should be blamed on the university and their measures to keeping students engaged and on their path. For-profit schools also are not notoriously as successful as non-profit schools in their success and longevity, and “of all the colleges that have closed since 2013, 95.5% of them were for-profit institutions” (2) This goes to show, for-profit universities are very business-based and are also way more frequently seen to be giving up on their students and shutting down as if they were a company. These two statistics are very relevant and recognize the flaws in for-profit schools. While some people have great experiences and go on to have great careers, the facts show the opposite for the majority of students at for-profit institutions. For-profits are not as successful overall in providing and facilitating education to their students. Overall, it is up to the individual, but for-profit schools are not as efficient and are historically more unsuccessful than non-profit. To compare JMU and Full Sail University, in 2016 JMU’s tuition increased 4%, Full Sail’s tuition increased 15.65%. (3) Since for-profit colleges are a business, they have no problem increasing the tuition rates by huge percentages each year if it will benefit their investors. As for non-profit colleges, while their prices do increase yearly, it is usually at a steadier rate that wouldn’t jump to 15% like Full-Sail.

    Works Cited

    (1)“Graduation Rates.” National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Home Page, a Part of the U.S. Department of Education,,at%20private%20for%2Dprofit%20institutions.

    (2)Newton, Derek. “20,000 More Reasons To Never Go To A For-Profit School.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 10 Dec. 2018,

    (3) “Full Sail University Tuition Trends.” College Tuition Compare,

  54. Predictions for the Future of College

    These last 3 semesters have proven, without a doubt, that the future of higher education is a technological one. With the growth and optimization of online platforms, and the transition of many corporations to a more technology based operating procedure, I believe that colleges will see a significant growth in the utilization of remote and online resources. With this growth will come the expansion of online systems like edX and Coursera. It is a simple economic principle that as the price of a primary good rises, consumers seek substitute goods, in the form of these online classes. In the era of technology as well, STEM careers are becoming more and more in demand, with many coding careers requiring less than a bachelor’s degree and paying more than most liberal arts careers. lists an average salary of 64k annually for computer programming positions, which well exceeds the averages of many careers that requires 4 years liberal arts degrees or more. To concisely answer the prompt based on this prediction for the future job market, I believe that 4-year universities may cease these programs if not financially beneficial to them, but corporations looking foster talented employees in crucial fields will begin to pick up the slack, funding or even creating avenues for learning these valuable job skills. The existent online platforms may attempt a move to paid programming, but if they attempt to charge sums of money close to what they charge for classes at the university, demand for the products will begin to decline, in favor of other learning avenues. I believe that this movement to a paid structure is inevitable when provided by for-profit universities, as the very nature of these schools demands sacrifice in exchange for status and advantage, which free courses are counter to. One possible alternative to these platforms requiring capital from students is the model mentioned in the Washington Post article “Elite education for the masses,” which proposes a model like the one employed by many social medias: the service sells data to corporations to fund its ventures, allowing the corporations to recruit talent from these online services. This model in my opinion seems more sustainable for the universities offering them, and while morally questionable, fits with the status quo of most modern technology platforms, drawing little to no protest from consumers. In another corner of the digital education revolution is MIT’s OpenCourseware program, which I believe really sheds light on the principle of college students paying solely for a diploma and the social experience at their universities. With all coursework published, students may gain a full education, and not receive the award at the end simply because they cannot afford it. I believe that this structure will come under scrutiny in the coming years in the face of the student loan crisis, and we will see a large push to legitimize MOOC’s and provide alternative options for students.


  55. It is no big secret that the cost of higher education has been steadily rising. A person is expected to sink themselves into life-long debt, just to attain a degree at a university. Usually, private institutions end up charging more than public state schools, making state schools look like the better deal. The question is, are state schools even trying to contain the cost of education? Or do they just let the cost of college continue to steadily rise? Well, let us take a look at the facts. First things first, when it comes to paying for school, there are a few components to it. You can pay out of pocket, take loans, or you might get lucky and receive an amount of grants or scholarships. Oftentimes, state schools give out very few scholarships, and when they do they are not usually large amounts. (,isn't%20always%20the%20case). Next, in any given, normal(non-pandemic) year, colleges raise their tuition and fees. There are many reasons for this such as faculty’s salaries, transportation, etc. However, for this discussion we can say it is because they need to make up for gaps in government subsidies. According to FinAid, colleges raise tuition rates at about twice the rate of inflation, at a rough estimate. As we are familiar with inflation, we know it is almost always steadily increasing over time in a normal economy. (,college%20doubles%20every%20nine%20years). Lastly, public colleges often charge a hefty amount more to students who do not qualify for in-state tuition. This is supposedly to make up for the fact that they have not paid taxes to the state that have then been partially given to school. The Graduate School for Health and Development reports the average out-of-state student pays $8,990 more for school. Meaning, it is not abnormal for an out-of-state student to pay almost ten thousand more dollars per year for school, than someone who qualifies for in-state tuition. (,they%20are%20not%20a%20resident.) With the facts listed above, does it seem like state schools are trying to keep college costs down? I would say there is very little evidence of efforts to keep costs down, and I certainly believe they could be trying much harder. Lastly, it is true that the numbers are different for each school. Maybe some are better than others.

  56. The cost of attending college is causing the majority of students to graduate with debt, and the rising cost of tuition across colleges in America is directly affecting the macroeconomy as a whole. So, what is the government doing to combat rising tuition costs? Some schools offer in-state tuition costs to combat rising tuition costs. For example, James Madison only charges students $12,330 in-state tuition, but it costs me $29,230 out-of-state tuition, so I had to decide whether a JMU degree would be worth the cost of tuition, or if an in-state college would be the better option ( State schools help contain college costs, by allowing students the choice between in-state tuition costs and out-of-state tuition costs. Competition among schools is driving the cost of tuition through the roof. Some students elect to invest more money into their college experience and choose to pay higher tuition costs to attend a university than the cheapest in-state option. Student loans are an investment in your future, and according to StudentLoanHero: “Among the Class of 2019, 69% of college students took out student loans.” ( Although the average cost of tuition is ridiculously expensive, in-state tuition allows every student an option to pay an affordable tuition cost, and the ability to use student loans.

    Why is the tuition cost worth the debt? Increases in education levels lead to higher expected GDP levels and growth rates because labor becomes increasingly efficient. This theory that education levels are directly associated with expected GDP levels and growth rates is seen through the change in human capital. Rising education levels improve human capital, increasing the productivity of these workers and the economy’s output. Human capital is improved through higher levels of education by providing individuals with the tools to be successful in life. Higher levels of education are associated with a greater sense of discipline and a realization of passions, as college prepares individuals with the experiences to understand what it takes to be successful in the real world. Higher education levels would positively affect the macroeconomy.

    If higher education levels improve the economy, then why isn’t tuition free? I believe a “free” educational system can be adopted where students attend online courses because the financial burden is only benefiting banks and colleges. A “free” education system is favored because student debt is continually becoming a tremendous problem. However, that being said, “free” college, is still not necessarily free, which makes it a very pressing issue for our democracy. The important question is: how important are higher education levels to the economy. The economy would take a hit, as a “free” educational system is adopted, and taxes would increase. However, in the long run, the economy, and our nation as a whole, would dramatically improve from the adoption of a “free” educational system.


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