The Soaring Cost of a College Education (Infographic)

Did you know, student loans leave college graduates an average of $20,000 in debt when they finish school?

Although there are significant benefits to justify earning a college degree, including better employment opportunities, access to higher paying jobs, and the broadening of social and mental horizons. But even with these, and many other benefits, one in two high school graduates chose to forgo the potential benefits because they cannot justify the cost and financial hardships most new college graduates find themselves facing. Collectively, American students owe more than one trillion dollars in debt incurred from student loans to finance their education.

Frugal Dad explains these costs, and the subsequent hardships faced by college grads in the following inforgaphic.

College Isn't Cheap

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Comments

  1. wellokaythen says:

    An excellent question is where all this money is going. The numbers of college faculty have increased only slightly over the years, and their pay has only modestly increased once you factor in the growing use of part-time faculty, who make a lot less than full-time faculty. So, if there’s a 10% increase in faculty salaries and 5% inflation, but the cost of tuition is up 200%, then where the hell is the rest of that increase going?

    At a state university, especially one with really big classes, maybe 25% of your tuition for a class actually goes to the instructor. (In a class I taught with 200 students, it came out to less than 5% of each student’s tuition.) So, what exactly are students paying for?

    The sticker price was going up long before the recent recession. It was going up when times were good, so it’s not just because of a down economy. People are lining their pockets, and it ain’t the “tenured fatcats.”

  2. wellokaythen…Not that I am a conspiracy theorist or anything, but… Does anyone really think that all of these forces that are working against the economic advancement of poor people and the ever shrinking middle class-poor people in waiting- are just by chance?As you noted, this is not a new thing by any stretch. And we first started to see this trend in the 80′s when manufacturing and wages started to lose ground fast.
    The first signal was the punch in the nose of the unions by then President Reagan when he famously fired striking air traffic controllers. He then created independent contracting as a way for companies to pay less money to employers by not having to actually hire employees; a trend that has taken hold in today’s job market. It was because of all of these reasons and many more that I viewed, for all of their faults, the Occupy Wall Street movement with respect. They got it right in that the unifying message going into the future is about class not gay rights, not women’s right’s or minority rights.

    • Listen, I get the “Occupy” movement because my age group is at the front-end of this shaft, but I don’t necessarily agree with their tactics.

      That being said, during the Presidential debates I found it interesting that Obama replied to a young woman who brought up all of their concerns (school debt, employment, etc) by stating that he’d work hard to “bring manufacturing jobs back”. I mean, isn’t that why one goes pursues a higher education in the first place- to rise above blue collar, union work?

      I’m at the point where I think both sides of the coin are tone deaf, but I was surprised nobody caught that (or maybe they just heard what they wanted to hear).

    • wellokaythen says:

      I don’t think the rising cost is necessarily evidence of a giant conspiracy, although the Ivy League schools did get into trouble in the 1990’s for actively colluding to raise their tuition rates.

      I’d say it has more to do with a fundamental lack of transparency within our most sacred institutions and lack of critical thinking when it comes to economics. We are simply told that we have to have a college degree and the price is simply going up. We are told that’s just the way it is, and we’re asked to trust our schools when they say there are valid reasons for the increasing prices.

      I suspect it’s mostly a bunch of small-scale collusions going on (micro-conspiracies?) that has become a regular part of the big business of education. Padded contracts, lack of budget oversight, the smoke and mirrors of “educational leadership” consultants, etc.

      Certainly colleges are being asked to perform more functions than ever before (the pool at Colorado State simply HAS to have a climbing rock with a waterfall, after all), but that can’t be the only explanation.

      I bring up the salary issue because I teach at a community college and I’ve also taught at a 4-year university. I get paid slightly less per class at the c.c., but the community college students pay HALF the tuition per class they pay at the local 4-year school. So, something else is going on here. There seems to be the opposite of the economy of scale – you would think that it would be more efficient to teach 200 at a time than teach 35 at a time, but it isn’t. So, what is making up the difference?

      The extravagantly expensive football program can’t possibly be the whole explanation.

  3. Some of the comments on the Frugal Dad site make me cringe- at a certain point they might be better off simply saving up a good chunk and handing it over to Jr. as a healthy down on a home or living expenses while they pursue a trade.

    The gift of no debt and a stress-free, comfortable life may now actually exceed the advantages of going to college.

    • wellokaythen says:

      Or, shameless plug here, junior could spend the first two years at a community college for half the cost, with smaller classes, and taught by recent PhD’s in the field who have chosen the profession of teaching, instead of by graduate students who see teaching as a meaningless obligation.

    • wellokaythen says:

      Or, shameless plug here, junior could get his first two years completed at a community college for half the cost, in smaller classes taught by a recent PhD in the field who has chosen teaching as a profession, instead of taught by graduate students who see undergrad teaching as an unfortunate obligation. (I know because I’ve been both of those things.)

  4. Chris…you make a very strong point. To bad a kid can’t borrow that money for investment or entrepreneurial adventures, as you said.

  5. Chris…I hear you. I didn’t think the movement was without fault, but at it’s core, was the right message. That movement more than any other since Civil Rights was egalitarian On the manufacturing tip:Those jobs are not coming back in any significant numbers and even if they do, they won’t pay what they once did. One must remember that those union jobs enabled men and women to fed their families, buy a home and put money away for the kids to go to college; if they wanted to go.Now the only way for folks to enjoy what my parents enjoyed is to get a master’s and pray one’s job doesn’t become obsolete in a few years after graduation. The problem is now that even the good jobs- requiring a college educated- don’t enable one to do the same as their parents who had less education.

  6. wellokthen…that’s what my old ass is doing!

  7. Check out this ebook title “Is College Education Still Worth the Price?” at Now and Then Reader dot com. http://business.time.com/2013/02/06/bank-robbers-going-the-way-of-blacksmiths/

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