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  • High tuitions costs and student debts keep Affordable higher education at bay
  • Posted By:
  • Jamie K
  • Posted On:
  • 14-Aug-2012
  • Financial investment logic is being used to justify borrowing huge amounts of money for higher education. The idea being propagated is that if the student has a degree, he or she will be able to be economically more productive. It is therefore sensible to borrow money at reasonable rates for higher education.

    Even though subsidized borrowing is made available today, many parents are starting to see the limits of this logic. In our country today, college completion rate is very low. This means, many students borrow to pay their tuition and do not complete to get credentials. Even those who do complete their education and get a degree realize that not all credentials find them a job immediately in today’s tough economic condition.

    Most families cannot afford beyond certain basic limits. Since 1985, in keeping with the inflation, tuition fee has risen and is now almost double. The past five years, our country has seen a plunging of median net worth and median annual earnings.

    Sterling Partners and Bain & Company consulting firm’s Tom Dretler and Jeff Denneen say that federal investment in higher education also has its own limitations. Recent years have seen regular cuts on a per-student based higher education appropriations and this has greatly impacted the already cash-strapped states.

    As compared to their elders, this generation of students get less formal education due to the fifty percent rise in fees and tuition at the state universities especially in states like California. Evidently, there is an emergence of social impact of escalating college costs.

    Management of college costs have to be influenced by cost consciousness of governments and families regarding student loans and college costs. Resistance to tuition price is stiff right now and this condition has been created by the current economic condition, says Moody investor report.

    Some of the elite universities, based on demand for their services, enjoy the power of tuition pricing. Even they are in a need to cut operating costs now. In order to cope with its endowment hits, Harvard University is forced to restructure many of its operations, says the Wall Street Journal report.

    There is no sign of ways that can increase the number of graduates through skilful training at low costs. At the most, there is only peripheral operational efficiency implementation and temporary containment of costs. There is increased interference from policymakers to determine student loan interest rates.

    The need of the hour is to significantly rethink ways to provide affordable, high quality post-secondary training for students. We can increase flexibility, lower fixed costs, improve student outcomes and standardize assessments through excellent quality, well designed online courses.

    Such cost-cutting innovations must be constantly initiated as a result of collective resistance to increase in tuition. Basic structural flaws in higher education must be identified and eliminated to make significant progress. This is the only way to ensure that great quality education is accessible to everyone in our country. It is time for policymakers to sit together and devise powerful methods to spur innovation and improve affordability.


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