Kate J. Ohio

Inflation of College Tuition Prices

This letter discusses the issue of rising college tuition prices. Providing statistics and evidence to prove that this topic is in fact real.

Dear Mr. /Ms. President,

Congratulations on your accomplishment of becoming the President of the United States. You were elected for a reason, to make a change, but in order to do that you must find an issue to change. I know being the President and all, you probably have several issues you’re already dealing with, but I believe this one is too important to put in your “skip” pile. The inflation of college tuition prices has been growing faster than the economy’s general inflation.

With such high prices, college has become questionable for a lot of lower income families. College should be an achievable goal for everyone, not just the people who have the money. College graduates have shown to attain higher paying jobs and become more successful. In a national report by the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (sheeo.org), it showed that high school graduates earn an average income of about $30,000 per year. Bachelor graduates earn around $50,000 per year. Anything higher, for example a doctrine, masters, or professional degree earn about $70,000 per year. The college experience also better prepares people for the work force, teaching them good life skills such as cooperation, communication, and self-discipline. Also, people who graduate college are more likely to have children who also complete a college education.

In a CNBC article, it was said that the cost to attend Harvard in 1971 was $2,600. Now, forty plus years later and Harvard’s tuition is 17 times the price it was in 1971. This fall, attending Harvard would cost $45,278. If the tuition rate would have increased at a steady rate, along with inflation, the cost to attend Harvard would only amount to $15,189. This rapid growth of college tuition also applies to public colleges, in 1971 the average cost of tuition and fees for a four-year college was about $500. To attend a public, four-year college now it would cost about $9,139. All of these statistics are evidence or proof of why the level of student debt is now at more than $1.2 trillion and continually rising.

The share of expenses for “student services,” in the past decade has raised from 17% of the schools budget to 20%. There are other factors that take away from the student services budget that colleges spend money on. Some people argue may be more essential than the student service budget itself. Teachers or professors for example may believe they don’t get payed enough, so why should the school pay more money to students than to individual who is actually teaching. Which makes sense, without professors what would college be? You can’t learn anything if there aren't people there to teach it. Although this is a solid point, a teacher cannot teach without students who want to learn, and usually if someone is receiving student aid they had to work hard to get it.

To prove that the cost of college tuition is rising higher than the economy’s inflation here are some more statistics from the same CNBC article. The average cost of tuition and fees at a four-year public college rose 87% between 2000 and 2013. During that same period, the income for the middle class of American households only advanced by 24 percent. In the first graph below, the solid lines are in correlation with the first key; apparel, transportation, food etc. The dots represent the second key which are all different types of college’s tuition rates. The largest incline you can see on the graph would be the percentage increase of a public four-year college’s tuition and fees.

The cost of college tuition is an issue that needs to be addressed for the next generations to come. As the president, do you want an economy in debt? People pay for an education to get better jobs and be successful but that’s a hard goal if we're in a hole that’s becoming harder and harder to dig yourself out of. As an economy we can’t just put this all on the president to fix, as the people, we need to acknowledge this as a real problem and work together to find a solution.


Kate J.