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Higher Education: Cost Up, Funding Down

Growing up, most individuals are taught if they work hard and study they will get into a good college, and if individuals get into a good college then they will be successful in the future and be rewarded with a lucrative career. 

However, the more time passes the more it seems this belief in higher education is weakened. Nowadays students are graduating with exorbitant education debts that seems to outweigh the usefulness of the degree they worked so hard to acquire.  

An analysis, done by The Institute for College Access and Success, showed that roughly 70 percent of all  students from a public or nonprofit institution graduate with an average of $28,950 college debt. And with the price of tuition constantly on the rise, it seems that the trend  of debt stricken students is going to continue into the distant future.  

So who  is to blame? The main opponent to affordable education is the failure of federal and state funding to keep up with the rising cost of tuition; a cost which is expected to rise higher than the rate of inflation.  

According to an Education Weekly study, the Pell Grant, which is the main way most students pay for college besides loans, “covered 99 percent of the cost of a community college, 77 percent at a public four-year college and 36 percent at a private four-year college” in 1980.  In 2012 the same Pell Grant only covered  62, 36 and 15 percent respectively.  

To make matters worse, just like federal funding for education is going down so is state funding. The process is as follows; first the federal  government decides that the already minute amount of funding states receive for higher education is too much; so Congress then decides to cut a percentage of the funding which leaves the responsibility to fall on the state governments.  

 State governments have an even harder time meeting the needs of their students, and the state governments eventually decide that they’re spending too much on education, so they decrease funding too, and in turn, students are forced to carry more of the burden that is student loans. 

 An analysis found in the journal Economics of Education Review showed that “for every $1,000 cut from per-student state and local appropriations, the average student can be expected to pay $257 more per year in tuition and fees.” This does not take into account the continuing efforts of congress to cut the Pell grant even more.  

Although this may be an oversimplified explanation the truth remains the same, students’ state and local governments no longer care about creating an intelligent country, although it might be the students who suffer because of it right now, in the future the whole country will suffer from our lack of dedication to education. Higher education has now become a business and student loans is how they make sure people keep coming back even if they don’t want to.   

The fact of the matter is simple, the government no longer sees the education of their citizens as an investment, rather, potential college students are seen as potential opportunities for revenue; but, it’s important to remember that when someone is making money another person is losing money. With the federal student loan program being a trillion dollar program it’s highly likely that somebody down the line is making money. Which leads to the most important question, who is making money off the backs of college students?

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